All people who seek treatment in health centers in Uganda will be offered HIV testing and counseling under a new plan to increase access to HIV prevention and treatment.
The acting program manager of the AIDS Control Programme at the Ministry of Health, Alex Ario, says the campaign, ‘Know your Status’, will be rolled out in phases to accommodate the country’s struggling health system and low health worker numbers.
The system has been tested, with promising results, in selected districts since 2006. The UN World Health Organization issued guidelines for healthcare provider-initiated counseling and testing in 2007.
“This is provider-initiating counseling and testing to a person attending healthcare facilities. The patient will be counseled and educated before the tests,” Ario told IRIN/PlusNews. “I call upon Ugandans to embrace the campaign and accept it.”
Uganda employs a number of testing strategies, including: routine HIV testing for pregnant women; client-initiated counseling and testing; home-based HIV testing; couples HIV testing; mobile HIV testing; and moonlight (night-time) testing for high-risk groups such as sex workers.
According to government statistics, HIV testing is available in 80 percent of county-level health centers but only 22 percent of sub-county-level health centers. The number of people tested for HIV annually has gone up from 1.1 million in 2008 to 5.5 million in 2011.
Read more of the story here at the IRIN news service:
Uganda begins rollout of provider-initiated HIV testing