HIV tests pull them in

24 October 2006

A whopping 1 052 members of the UCT community were tested during the free HIV-testing campaign on upper campus in September.

These figures, released by HIV/AIDS Co-ordination - UCT (HAICU), indicate a successful drive, said the organisation's Sean Brown.

The free voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) drive was a Department of Student Affairs initiative (Student Wellness Service), in collaboration with HAICU, the Human Resources Department, Treatment Action Campaign - UCT, the Student Representative Council, AIDS Community Educators and the AIDS Resource Centre.

"This was the first time that HIV testing has been done at UCT on such a large scale," said Dr Corinne Landon, medical director of student health, Department of Student Affairs. (Ongoing free testing for students is provided at the student health facility at 28 Rhodes Avenue).

Students, staff and contract workers received pre-test counselling, after which they were referred to a nurse for a finger-prick HIV Rapidx Test. Results were available within 15 minutes. Following the test, students and staff were referred to VCT counsellors for their results and post-test counselling.

Clinical psychologists and a medical practitioner were also available on site for additional counselling.

Similar campaigns have been scheduled for March and August 2007, to be held in Jameson Hall.

Among the students' concerns, however, was that senior academic staff were not present.

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