DECEMBER – HIV/AIDS AWARENESS MONTH
The month of December was HIV/AIDS Awareness Month and the theme for World AIDS Day, December 1, 2018 was “Know Your Status”.
Let’s Have A Quickie This December
Incidentally, Ghana – specifically Accra – has become a popular destination for the Christmas holidays, and we decided to take advantage of that to create awareness of HIV, and to get people tested at many locations throughout the month. We arranged to set up at some events in Accra throughout the month of December to offer free HIV testing and education.
On December 1 – World AIDS Day – we supported SCORA-UG in organizing a free HIV screening and education campaign mainly supported by PPAG on the Osu Oxford Street. Over 200 people were screened that day with two new cases of HIV found.
The Social Media Campaign
We designed and put out awareness cards in a social media campaign to encourage all to know their status throughout the month of December.
These cards were designed to put across the following messages:
- Many people around the world live with HIV but have no idea because they are relatively symptomless. Regular testing is the surest way to know.
- Though there is no definite cure, there is treatment for HIV, which is most effective when HIV is detected early and treatment started immediately.
- Condom use is an effective method of prevention of HIV.
- One can live a healthy, positive life and even start a family with HIV when on treatment. They could achieve undetectable levels, which renders it untransmittable.
THE SCREENING PROCESS
Reception: Each client who walked into our set up was first seen at the reception table, where details including Name, Age, Address and Phone Number were taken, and the initial phase of pre-test counselling was done. They were each given a Serial Number with which they would continue the rest of the process. This was done to ensure confidentiality and safety of results.
Brochures on topics such as “How to Use a Male Condom”, “How to Use a Female Condom”, “HIV Testing and Counselling” and “Protect Your Dream” were displayed on the registration table and clients were encouraged to pick them up to read.
Pre-test counselling: Pre-test counselling is a very important step of the “Quickie” process. This iswhere education about HIV takes place, as well as preparation for the test and the likely results ahead. Here, participants were seated in groups of three or four in a brief yet thorough interactive session with a pre-test counsellor.
Sampling & Analysis: For each client, a 1-2 ml sample of venous blood was taken in an EDTA tubelabelled with the client’s serial number and immediately sent to the analysis booth. The clients were then told to come back for results in 10-15 minutes. Analysis was done immediately and results recorded.
Disclosure and Post-test counselling: There was a booth for disclosure of results and post-test counselling, situated furthest away from traffic to provide privacy and confidentiality. Results were disclosed to clients (still on serial number basis) and counsel was given with respect to the results. Male condoms and Status Cards were distributed to clients after counselling.