No Weekends Off for HIV Testing Program

A weekend of free testing was recently arranged by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Zimbabwe to provide services for those who find it difficult to be tested during normal operating hours.

Since many in Zimbabwe are not able to visit the hospital during the week due to busy work schedules or administrative roadblocks at some healthcare facilities, AHF set up testing at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare to help alleviate the situation. Tents were erected in convenient spaces, and those visiting family members in the hospital were encouraged to be tested.

“The two days of testing were very successful,” said AHF Zimbabwe Country Program Manager Dr. Enerst Chikwati. “We tested 137 clients over the weekend, which was more than we tested during normal hours throughout April through June combined.”

The initiative received overwhelming response from the general public, as well as from hospital staff. Testing teams comprised of two trained HIV/AIDS counselors and one nurse tested patients’ glucose and blood pressure (BP), along with HIV.

“Even though BP and glucose testing are not core activities of the outreach program, they are essential in motivating people to test for HIV, since they are conducted simultaneously,” said Dr. Chikwati.

Of those tested for HIV, 8 clients tested positive and were immediately linked to care. AHF has been operating in Zimbabwe since 2016 and is currently caring for 15,070 patients.