Vic Falls gets free HIV, cancer testing

HUNDREDS of Victoria Falls residents thronged various medical centres for free screening and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, free HIV and cervical cancer testing after the Health ministry and the National Aids Council (NAC) launched night testing sessions, targeting sex workers and their clients.

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

District health medical officer Wisdom Kuraone said the intervention, gave community members an opportunity to know their HIV status, acquire knowledge, change their attitudes and perceptions on HIV and Aids and get free counselling services.

He said the Health ministry and NAC aim to make testing for such diseases accessible, convenient and affordable, as well as to encourage regular sexual health screening, as part of routine health care for all sexually active people.

“We are pleased to offer free and low-cost health services to the community,” Kuraone said.

“Our hope is that by offering these services in a friendly, non-judgmental venue that is easy to access and free, more people in Victoria Falls and surrounding areas will consider health screenings as a regular part of their health maintenance – like eating healthier and getting a yearly check-up”

“We realised that people do not want to get tested in broad daylight and that is why we decided to carry out this testing at night. We have people who work during the day, international truck drivers, sex workers are the people that have been asking us to conduct these tests at night and the results are pleasing.”

When Southern Eye visited the testing sites at Chinotimba and Mkhosana clinics, mostly women were seeking the service while men walked away after filling in forms.
The first round of testing ended on Wednesday, while cervical cancer screening is still on-going at Victoria Falls Hospital.

The health team will also cover Lupinyu business centre and Cross Dete.

In 2015, the Health ministry reported that Victoria Falls recorded the highest number of new HIV infections as border towns record the highest HIV prevalence rates.

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