The City and scientists aim to end inequalities and the HIV pandemic
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Cape Town – In an attempt to prevent the spread of HIV and raise awareness about knowing your HIV status, the City of Cape Town, in collaboration with Touching Nations, hosted a session at Delft South Clinic today, in order to add a new layer to the HIV testing strategy.
The focus of the session was on HIV Self Screening (HIVSS), which allowed community members to use a screening kit to self-test, as well as an Index Case Testing, which encouraged those with HIV to get all ‘at risk’ contacts (sexual contact, or young children and injecting drug partner(s) within the past year) tested for HIV.
Community Services and Health mayco member, Patricia van der Ross said that as the world marks the 40th anniversary of the first visible effect of HIV, the testing procedures only form part of the city's continual quest to find innovative ways to locate undiagnosed individuals and treat them so that they can stay healthy.
“Forty years ago, the world saw the first visible signs of HIV.
“So much has changed since then, and the virus that once saw alarming fatality rates is now a manageable chronic disease.
“However, a lot still depends on getting tested, because if you don’t know your status, you cannot start the lifesaving treatment that has been developed for HIV/Aids.
“These new testing strategies are part of the City’s ongoing search for new ways to find undiagnosed people, and offer them treatment so that they remain healthy.
“It is a massive step forward, and I hope that the public will embrace what is on offer to them, and make informed choices about their health and that of their loved ones,” said Van der Ross.
With development of a safe and effective HIV prevention vaccine underway, South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) chief executive, Professor Glenda Gray said that for more than five decades, the organisation has been at the forefront of cutting-edge research and innovation to tackle the HIV epidemic.
“SAMRC scientists and those with close association with the organisation, have ranked among the world’s best in all aspects of the HIV response – from prevention of HIV infection from mother-to-child, to the development of newer and safer drug regimens, and the health service delivery of antiretroviral treatment.
“As the theme for this year's World Aids day being: ‘End inequalities. End AIDS and End Pandemics there’s a special focus on reaching people left behind, commemorating the collective lives lost globally while reflecting on the major strides we continue to make towards our contribution and the impact it has on HIV research,” said Gray.