HIV and AIDS

Men do want to test for HIV ‘€“ NGO

Written by Health-e News

Men are generally known to be reluctant to test for HIV. But statistics collected by New Start, a non governmental organization working in getting people to test for HIV, suggest the opposite.

The audio is in isiZulu. See the English summary below.

MABUTHO: Izibalo ze New Start, okuyinhlangano ezimele engekho ngaphansi kukahulumeni, zibonisa ukuthi kubantu abangaphezu kuka 125 000 ebebezihlolela igciwane le HIV ngaphansi kwalenhlangano kusukela ngo 2004 kuze kube u 2008 iningi labo ngamadoda. Isibalo sawo sibalelwa ku 52%, ngale kwehhafu, kuthi abesifazane babe ngu 48%. Lokhu kushiya umbuzo ukuthi ngabe lenhlangano yenza njani ukuheha amadoda njengoba kudume ukuthi awazwani nokuzihlolela igciwane le HIV. Oyi Technical Advisor kulenhlangano, uScott Billy, uthi into eyenze ukuthi lenhlangano ithole amadoda amaningi ukudlula abesifazane ukuthi iqale yenza ucwaningo. UBilly uthi ocwaningweni lwabo bathole ukuthi amadoda amaningi afuna uhlelo lokuzihlolela igciwane le HIV lube into esheshayo futhi esendaweni esobala futhi amagama angadalulwa. Uthi ikhona kanye lokhu inhlangano yakhe ekwenzayo nokwenza ukuthi ithole amadoda amaningi.

SCOTT BILLY: We did’€¦ a consumer research to ask men what they want from an HIV counseling and testing service. They said they want convenience and anonymity. So, at New Start we have a mobile service (that) we bring to the people. You don’€™t have to give your name if you don’€™t want. That is the reason why most of our clients are men.

MABUTHO: Naphezu kokuba iNew Start ikwazi ukuthola amadoda amaningi ukuba azihlolele igciwane le HIV, kepha iningi lezinhlelo zikahulumeni ziyehluleka ukwenza lokhu. USister Nokulunga Willie wasesibhedlela eMadwaleni, eMbashe ngaseMthatha, esifundazweni saseMpumalanga Kapa uyafakaza ukuthi kunzima ukuthola amadoda ukuba azozihlolela igciwane le HIV esibhedlela.  

SISTER NOKULUNGA WILLIE: Beza kancinci – abafani nabantu abangomama. Ngamanye amaxesha umuntu uya athumele inkosikazi yakhe, omunye ngamanye amaxesha athumele igirlfriend yakhe athi ‘€˜uma ngaba upositive ithetha uba nami ndi positive’€™.

MABUTHO: UBilly uthi isizathu sokuthi amadoda abe maningi kuhlelo lokuzihlolela igciwane le HIV lwe New Start ukudlula amaclinic nezibhedlela kungenxa yokuthi amadoda amaningi ngokujwayelekile awathandi ukuya ema clinic, kwala ngisho noma egula.

SCOTT BILLY: Men in general, in South Africa and all around the world, when they get sick they do not necessarily go to the clinic. Women are used to go to the clinics’€¦ And women in many countries, including South Africa, are the ones who take children to clinics when they are sick. Men don’€™t like to go to the clinic. So, we are trying to make the service which is outside the clinic that appeals to men.

MABUTHO: Ukuba phezulu kwesibalo samadoda azihlolela igciwane kwi New Start bekungenza omunye acabange ukuthi nesibalo samadoda anegciwane siphezulu ukudlula abesifazane. Kepha uBilly uthi sincane isibalo samadoda azithole ukuthi anegciwane ngesikhathi ezihlola ngaphansi kohlelo lwe New Start uma kuqhathaniswa nesibalo sabesifazane.

SCOTT BILLY: The positivity rate among male clients at New Start is lower than the positivity rate among New Start female clients. But that, more or less, mirrors on the country in general. Generally, women have a slightly higher HIV rate than men.

MABUTHO: Ngokusho kuka Mirriam Mhazo oyi Senior Program Manager kwi New Start labo abazithola benegciwane le HIV iNew Start iyabasiza ngokuthi bathole amakhambi uma sekufanele bawathole. Uthi nalabo abatholakala bengenalo igciwane balulekwa ngezindlela zokuthi baqhubeke nokuthi bangalitholi igciwane. Uthi ngaleyondlela asikho isidingo sokuthi abantu basabe ukuzihlolela igciwane le HIV.

MIRRIAM MHAZO: If you test positive our counselors help you to look at how you can live a longer and healthier life. We refer you to post test services. And we also refer people for treatment. And for those who test negative we also help them find ways of remaining negative… So, for those who say they would rather die than know their status it’€™s because they do not have full facts.

MABUTHO: Kubantu abacishe babalelwa ku 126 000  abazihlole igciwane ngaphansi kwe New Start kusukela ngo 2004 kuze kube manje bangu 14% okanye abangu 18 122 ngokwezinamba bazithole ukuthi banegciwane le HIV . Kubona laba abazithole ukuthi banegciwane u56% wabo okungukuthi abangu 10 300, ngabesifazane kuthi amadoda wona abe ngu 44% okanye 7822 ngokwezinumber.

English summary

Men do want to test for HIV ‘€“ NGO

Men are generally known to be reluctant to test for HIV. But statistics collected by New Start,  a non governmental organization working in getting people to test for HIV, suggest the opposite.

Out of 126 319 people who went to New Start for Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) in the past four years, 52% were men, while women constituted 48%.

Scott Billy, Technical Advisor at New Start says the reason behind their success in attracting more men is because they ‘€œdid’€¦ a consumer research to ask men what they want from an HIV counseling and testing service’€.  He said that ‘€œthe research found that men want convenience and anonymity. You don’€™t have to give your name if you don’€™t want to.’€ Billy added that New Start has done exactly what men wanted – taking testing services to the people.

Comparing the service to government-run VCT programmes, the challenge of attracting men to come for HIV testing is still huge. Sister Nokulunga Willie is the head of the VCT program at Madwaleni Hospital in Mbashe near Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape province. She faces this challenge on a daily basis.

‘€œMen do not come in their numbers like women. Sometimes they send the wives or girlfriends and say ‘€˜if you’€™re positive, then it means I am also positive’€™,’€ said Sister Willie

Billy says it is difficult for public health sector VCT programs to attract men because of a simple reason.

‘€œMen in general, in South Africa and all around the world, when they get sick they do not necessarily go to the clinic. Women are used to go to the clinics’€¦ And women in many countries, including South Africa, are the ones who take children to clinics when they are sick. Men don’€™t like to go to the clinic. So, we are trying to make the service which is outside the clinic that appeals to men,’€ he said.

About 18 122 of the 126 319 New Start clients tested positive. Among these 10 300 were female, while 7 822 were male.

Those who test positive are not left out in the cold, says Miriam Mhazo, Senior Program Manager at New Start.

‘€œIf you test positive our counselors help you to look at how you can live a longer and healthier life. We refer you to post test services. And we also refer people for treatment,’€ she said, adding that ‘€œthose who test negative we also help them find ways of remaining negative… So, for those who say they would rather die than know their status it’€™s because they do not have full facts.’€

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