Know your status day
On the 19th of November 2010, together with the Dignity Center (a prenatal clinic) we organized a "Know Your Status Day". This gave people the opportunity to be tested for HIV/AIDS. Getting tested is still a taboo in the townships. People are afraid of being stigmatized. The lack of confidentiality and gossiping that goes on, deters people from going.
Assisting us during the "Know Your Status Day", was a medical team from Capetown called the Philippi Trust. This team included a doctor, 2 nurses and 2 counselors. The prenatal clinic received funds to offer services as well.
We spent weeks educating and preparing the people for this day. We told them that the HIV/AIDS test was voluntary but it would be best if everyone got tested. In order to set a good example, we let ourselves be tested as well.
It was a big turnout. 123 people were tested, 20% of these tested positive. But now that they are aware, they can have the right medication to live a longer life. A friend of ours has AIDS for 40 years and because he's getting the right medication, he's able to live a vibrant and healthy life!
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to test everyone. We hope that next year the team from Capetown will be larger. For the next "Know Your Status Day" we want to plan extra activities for the children and teenagers so that they can be tested as well. This will also require the necessary preparations. The parent/guardian has to sign a waiver giving permission for the child to be tested. Everyone being tested must first sign the legal documents.
All those that tested positive that day wanted to receive help and support from the CODAH team. This is a good step in the right direction. The Philippi Trust team was astonished at the number of people who came and were tested. Even more so when they saw how eager the people were to receive the help. We want to give a special thanks to the local team. Noma and Hlengiwe have certainly proved themselves worthy of our respect and trust!