OVER 1,000 people were tested for HIV recently in Hopley, as the Ministry of Health and Child Care and its partners work on having more people knowing their status.
The National AIDS Council (NAC) continues to facilitate musical concerts to encourage HIV testing and counseling and to discourage HIV related stigma.
The 1 000 people were tested on the sidelines of an HIV music concert that was held at Tariro Primary School in Harare’s Hopley suburb as part of the HIV Equal Campaign that aims to end HIV stigma and discrimination.
In an interview with 263chat, Beat AIDS Project Zimbabwe (BAPZ), Founder and Managing Director Gary Blick said the choice of the venue was influenced by the high population in the area and because there are no adequate health services in the area.
Blick said the largest and most successfully HIV Testing and Counseling event which was ever held in Zimbabwe was in Hopley a area which was spotted by Ministry of Health and Child Care as a hot spot.
He said HIV equal is a international multimedia campaign that aims to end HIV stigma and promote HIV testing by creating a social art movement that changes the way people .
Blick said the largest and most successfully HIV Testing and Counseling event which was ever held in Zimbabwe was in Hopley and was dubbed the hot spot by Ministry of Health and Child Care.
The area which is well known for commercial sex workers offering services as little as $0.50, had 898 females being tested. Of the 898 tested 805 were negative, while 93 tested positive.
Blick said 277 males tested and 253 were negative while 24 tested positive.
The positive rates for females and males are 10.4% and 8.7% respectively making average rate of 10.1% .
Statistics revealed that a total number of people 1, 175 people were tested.
The total number of HIV negative people is 1,058 while 117 people tested positive.
Beat AIDS Project Zimbabwe Director said the Campaign is run under the theme “ Everyone has an HIV status, We are all equal” .
The campaign which prompts people to know their HIV status started in Mbare targeting HIV hot spots.
“I’m happy with the campaign we are doing in Zimbabwe, as you know by 2020 everyone will know his or her HIV status.
“The message we are spreading is test, photo and fight which will promote everyone to fight stigma and discrimination and is free testing get a t –shirt and photo”, Blick explained.
Blick added the Campaign will run in all the provinces of the country.
Speaking at the same occasion NAC provincial Aids Coordinator for Harare Province Adonija Muzondiona said the number of people who came for testing was quite high and there is still need to encourage men to present themselves for HIV testing and other services.
“Those that have tested positive have been advised on what to do and where to go so that they can start treatment, and those tested negative should maintain their status”, Muzondiona explained.
The concert was sponsored by Beat AIDS Project Zimbabwe, and was supported by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, PSI, MSF, Zapso, City of health and the Zimbabwe National Network for people living with HIV (ZNNP+).
Several Zimdancehall artists including Trevor Dongo, Kinnah, Killer T and Ceh Calaz performed at the HIV and AIDS awareness concept in Hopley.