News from HPPSA

Total Control of the Epidemic - Comprehensive Community-Based HIV Prevention, Counseling and Testing Program for Reduced HIV incidence (TCE - CBCT) is in its second year of operation providing HIV Home-based Testing Services to high incident communities with the aim to identify People Living with HIV and to effectively link them into HIV and TB care and treatment.

 

TCE - CBCT is a 5-year intervention implemented under Humana People to People South Africa’s TCE model in partnership with Foundation for Professional Development (FPD). The program is implemented in Gert Sibande District Municipality in Mpumalanga, in Mopani District in Limpopo and in Buffalo City in Eastern Cape. People are reached in their homes and work places through mobilization for counseling and testing so that they know their HIV status. TCE Field Officers are well trained to conduct HIV Home-based Testing Services and work closely with clinics in the communities that they are working in to support linkage and referrals.

The TCE - CBCT program aims to reach all members of the communities that the program is operating. In May, TCE - CBCT Mopani had a meeting with the HIV/AIDS Coordinator in Giyani Sub-District about carrying out an action to counsel and test for HIV the detainees and Police Officers which was sanctioned by the health personnel of Giyani Police Station. Prison conditions are often ideal breeding grounds for onward transmission of HIV infection. The prisons are frequently overcrowded. They commonly operate in an atmosphere of violence and fear. Tensions abound, including sexual tensions. Release from these tensions, and from the boredom of prison life, is often found in the consumption of injection drugs or in sex.1 Overcrowding as well as stress, malnutrition, drugs, and violence weaken the immune system, making people living with HIV more susceptible to getting ill.2

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The detainees at the Giyani Police Station were hesitant to be tested but after one-on-one sessions with Field Officers of sensitization with general information about HIV and the importance of them getting tested and knowing their status, they became more forthcoming and were happy to know their HIV status.

Mercy Shipalana, one of the Field Officers taking part in the mobilization of the detainees to get tested talked about some of the challenges that they encountered in the process. “The challenge we had was to mobilize the prisoners to test as they didn’t get it why should they do testing and what do they benefit from getting tested, but with the help of Special Force Glory Mathebane. She gave us more courage of approaching each and every individual as we seen that doing the group information giving doesn’t work. One-on-one information giving helped in getting them to understand that even in prison they are also at risk of getting infected or if they are already positive getting reinfection.” 

On the day 28 detainees and 18 Police Officers were tested and got to know their status. Blood was drawn and sent to the lab for CD4 for those that were tested HIV positive.

Together with my fellow Field Officers we have seen that there is a need to strengthen health services in police stations and have share information with the prisoners and the police officers so that they know more about HIV/AIDS and TB. In Giyani Police Station we have a strong Officer who will help in reaching out to his colleagues about information and mobilize them to get tested,”said Mercy Shipalana. 

International Centre for Prison Studies - http://www.apcca.org/uploads/10th_Edition_2013.pdf
 

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