HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) Campaign

Government urges public servants to contact the internal employee health and wellness units or to contact their nearest public health facilities for a free HIV Counseling and Testing.

Scaling up Public Service response to HIV/AIDS

The tragic impact of HIV/AIDS on the health of the South African population must never be underestimated. The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) and the South African National Aids Council (SANAC), has a national HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign to counsel and test the 1,2 million public servants.

The Public Service has a crucial role to play in mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS and TB as part of its overall focus on the health and well-being of its employees. Large numbers of people are also direct dependants of public servants. As a result, the fate of society as a whole is closely intertwined with the health and well-being of public servants.

This project provides public servants with opportunity to:

  • be counselled, and informed on the nature of HIV&AIDS, STI, and TB
  • be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent development of other non-communicable diseases
  • get tested for HIV and screened for TB and other non-communicable diseases
  • know that TB can be cured even if you are HIV positive
  • get treated for AIDS and TB before your immune system is too weak
  • prevent HIV/AIDS and TB related deaths
  • prevent new HIV and TB infections
  • pPrevent HIV& AIDS and TB related stigma.

Long life is a guarantee for those who test early, get treated early and prevent TB which attacks those with unknown and untreated HIV infection.

In this workplace HCT Intensification Project, public servants and their families will be provided with an opportunity to:

  • access HCT services at the public health facility nearest to their home, away from the working place
  • be referred for testing for HIV and be screened for TB and other health conditions during hours that suits them
  • know their HIV status early during the course of infection, before the CD4 count is below 350 cell/ml
  • be assured that their information will be treated confidentiality
  • access a disease management programme when their immune systems is still high, thus provinding the possibility of responding well to antiretroviral treatment (ART).

For more information on HIV/AIDS and free health education contact the employee health and wellness programme in your department.

Progress with the campaign

Some of the HCT Campaign’s achievements since its launch by President Jacob Zuma in 2010 are the following:

  • Before 2009, some 2,6 million people had gone for counselling and testing, but since the launch 18 million people have been tested.
  • Before the HCT campaign, 539 819 patients entered  into  treatment,  whereas  in  2013, 617 000 people were initiated into treatment
  • Only 250 nurses initiated ARV treatment in 2009, but during 2010/11, 10 542 nurses were trained and certified to initiate treatment.

The target for 2013/14 was to initiate 550 000 new people on treatment. In June 2013, during his State visit to South Africa, President Obama of the USA discussed the Pepfar Report with President Zuma.

According to the report, some 1 651 800 HIV-positive individuals were on ART; 7 055 000 individuals received HCT; 924 300 pregnant women received HCT, with 253 000 HIV-positive pregnant women receiving ARV medication to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

The Pepfar Report underscored the fact that the success of the programme was achieved in direct partnership with the South African government. Pepfar’s male circumcision programme was launched in 2009 and in 2013, the fund aimed to increase the number to 500 000 voluntary medical male circumcisions.

A third medical male circumcision clinic was opened in October 2013 in North West, as part of a provincial campaign to reduce the risk of HIV infection among men. According to the WHO, the risk of HIV is reduced by 60% if a man is circumcised. Over the next year, government will strive to medically circumcise one million men through its Medical Male Circumcision campaign launched in December 2013. Members of Parliament got the chance to undergo HIV tests in Parliament in October 2013.

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