Compulsory HIV testing planned - Daily Nation

Compulsory HIV testing planned

Sunday September 25 2011

Children with unknown HIV status will also be tested regardless of the ailment for which they are seeking treatment, according to the National Aids and STI Control Programme (Nascop).

Photo/FILE Children with unknown HIV status will also be tested regardless of the ailment for which they are seeking treatment, according to the National Aids and STI Control Programme (Nascop). 

By EDITH FORTUNATE [email protected]

Testing for HIV/Aids will be made compulsory for those seeking treatment for ailments such as malaria and typhoid.

Previously, only expectant women underwent compulsory testing.

Children with unknown HIV status will also be tested regardless of the ailment for which they are seeking treatment, according to the National Aids and STI Control Programme (Nascop).

Counselling will be offered to guardians and parents, who must give written consent for their children to be tested.

This, said the head of Nascop Peter Cherutich, would ensure total war against HIV/Aids. “It is evident that testing for HIV can have significant benefits.

“For example, those who have taken an HIV test and know the result are more likely to have a higher level of education, be in employment, have accurate HIV knowledge, and a higher perception of risk, among other factors,” said Dr Cherutich.

Not successful

He explained that Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) programme had not been successful due to the stigma attached to it.

He noted that HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) would reduce stigma experienced under the VCT programme. (READ: New Aids kits to take out the fear through confidential self-testing)

“About 65 per cent of those who have been tested are women due to the ante-natal clinic testing. But the most important thing is that stigma is what kills most people living with HIV,” said Dr Cherutich.

He urged Kenyans to help fight HIV/Aids by going for tests. This, he said, would help reduce the number of new infections and also make it possible for those who test negative to protect themselves.

“Going for an HIV test does not mean that you have been involved in promiscuous behaviour because you might have contracted the disease from your mother when you were born.

“This way, you will be able to prevent someone else from being infected, especially if it is your partner,” he said.

He asked Kenyans not to wait until they were sick before going for the test.

“When testing is done it is often at a late stage of infection. It is hoped that the HTC campaign will lead to earlier diagnosis of HIV,” Dr Cherutich said.