Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter—
The National Aids Council (NAC) has introduced night HIV testing to cater for people who cannot get tested during the day for various reasons. NAC Harare provincial Aids coordinator Mr Adonijah Muzondiona said the programme known as “moonlight testing” was already reaping results, as evidenced by the number of HIV positive cases recorded at night compared to those recorded during the day.
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“Moonlight testing involves HIV testing at night and the programme is designed to cater for some people who cannot get tested during day time,” said Mr Muzondiona.
According to statistics from Harare province, for the second quarter of 2017, 32 percent of HIV positive cases from Epworth were recorded at night, compared to 5,2 cases recorded during the day.
A further 28 percent of HIV positive cases in Ruwa were also recorded at night, compared to 8,9 percent recorded during the day.
In Harare, NAC recorded 26 percent of HIV positive cases compared to 2,2 percent recorded during the day.
“We are trying to make sure that everyone who is HIV positive is tested and immediately put on antiretroviral drugs,” said Mr Muzondiona. “Harare province pioneered this initiative and all the other provinces have since followed suit.”
Mr Muzondiona said the province was also making use of musical galas to attract people to get tested.
He said the musical galas proved to be effective in making sure that more people were tested.
According to statistics, for the second quarter of 2017, 33 percent of all people who tested positive in Harare were tested during the musical galas.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care show that an estimated 1,2 million people are living with HIV in Zimbabwe, but only 66 percent of them know their HIV status.
Knowing one’s HIV status is the foundation to HIV treatment, care and support.
Government has introduced many other interventions such as self-testing and index testing to ensure that all people know their status.
Index testing involves following up on an HIV positive person’s sexual partners and offer them testing services.