THE National Aids Council (NAC) says its HIV and Aids night testing and counselling sessions have proved to be a boon among sex workers and their clients.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
NAC Mashonaland East provincial manager Wilfred Dube told journalists during a tour of the province that the moonlight programme had seen more people being tested compared to those attended to during day time, adding they were now targeting rural areas.
“What moonlight has done is that it has offered people who are busy and shy to access HIV testing and counselling services to do so at night,” he said.
“We have seen that most sex workers are shy to get tested during day time and they prefer to do so at night, hence we have embarked on this programme.”
In Murehwa district, NAC statistics show that more men accessed the services compared to those who did so during daytime.
Last week, at least 108 people were tested during day time, with seven of them testing positive for HIV, five being circumcised and another five tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), with all of them testing positive.
At night, 167 people were tested for HIV and 16 of them were found positive, while 23 were screened for STIs, with 11 testing positive.
“We have realised that some patrons shy away or have no time to go for HIV and Aids testing during daytime,” he said.
“So we target them at night at taverns. If the positive prevalence rate is high, it means more would be initiated into ART [anti-retroviral therapy].”
Mashonaland East has a 16% HIV prevalence rate, with Marondera, Murewa and Mudzi districts being hotspots due to the high activity along the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway.