Namibia To Launch Pilot HIV Testing, Counseling Project
The Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services will launch a pilot project to provide no-cost HIV testing and counseling in certain regions of the country to mark its National HIV Testing Day on May 9, Namibia's New Era reports. The project will run in the Caprivi, Erongo, Oshana, Karas and Khomas regions for three days beginning on May 8. According to Oshana Health Director Naftali Hamata, the goal of the project is to encourage communities to access counseling and testing services, as well as to persuade large numbers of people to learn their HIV status. Hamata called on all members of the community, particularly men, to access no-cost testing and counseling at any health facility during the project time frame.
"Many a time, people, and especially men, are seeking counseling and testing when they are referred by doctors, getting married or for insurance," he said, adding, "More often they come to hospital when they are already wasted and appropriate assistance can no longer be given." Hamata also called on people who are unaware of their HIV status to be tested. "Knowing our status will help us to plan our future, live positively and be productive," he said. All regions involved in the project are required to meet specific targets, according to the New Era. Oshana is required to offer testing and counseling to 2,244 people during the three days of the project. The region last year provided testing to 21,558 people (Ingwafa, New Era, 5/7).