By: Mandla Luphondvo
Population Services International (PSI) is working towards testing 100 000 people for HIV this year. This was disclosed by PSI Country Representative Pamela Faura during a presentation of the organisation annual plan at NERCHA head office in Mbabane.
Fauradid admit that much as this was an ambitious target, they are sure to meet and possibly exceed this target. “One of the variables that would possibly contribute to the achievement of this target is that we have since revisited our threshold when it comes to couple counseling,” said Faura.
During the love month of February, PSI will now provide HIV testing to couples and partners, including people in sexual relationships with others who do not see themselves as a couple. She said in the past some people could not take advantage of HIV testing services during the month of February purely because they did not see themselves as couples.
Last year, PSI tested 78 210 people for HIV when they had targeted 60 450. This essentially means they reached their annual target and exceeded it by 29%.
HIV testing is generally accompanied by a buffet of other HIV and AIDS services like distribution of male and female condoms for instance. PSI is working at having a minimum package for HIV prevention. This package will include, but not limited to, gender mainstreamed messages which will serve to address the structural and strategic challenges related to the spread of HIV.
PSI Country Representative further indicated that there will be several improvements in service delivery this year. “We are looking at piloting CD4 testing at community-based testing sites to support linkages to care and treatment. We are also integrating Blood Pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and diabetes screening services at Litsemba Letfu men’s clinic,” she added.