09 February 2006

Reasons for poor uptake

In response to the article in the Monday Paper of July 26 about the poor uptake of HIV testing facilities by UCT staff, I want to draw attention to two possible reasons for this.

First, the UCT website does not indicate where staff can go to be tested. Sporadic announcements in the faculties or the media are not enough.

When someone has a need to know about HIV testing facilities the information has to be readily available. (A recent circular used abbreviations to such an extent that I am sure only those who knew anyway were able to make sense of it.)

Second, testing is only available for UCT staff and not for their partners. This simply does not make sense as a prevention approach, even if free AIDS treatment at this stage is limited to staff members.

Barbara Schmid
Religious Studies

Ottoline Claham, organisational health manager, replies:

We have only recently bedded the service at a fixed venue as our original venue plans had been derailed. I plan to put the site information onto the web and it will also be circulated in the Organisational Health Newsletter. Posters will also be circulated. Regarding the partners of UCT employees, all should be able to access HIV testing via their compulsory medical aid provider or at testing sites run by the Department of Health. Sites are listed on the Aidsinsite website: http://hr.uct.ac.za. The family does have access to the toll free line (0800 448 009), but at present funding for this comprehensive benefit has only been approved for staff members.

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