Zimbabwe Shifts From Voluntary HIV Testing to Provider-Initiated Testing in Response to Epidemic
October 30, 2007
Zimbabwe has shifted from a voluntary HIV testing system to a provider-initiated system in which medical professionals incorporate HIV testing into routine medical exams with the permission of their patients, Zimbabwe's The Herald reports. Owen Mugurungi, head of the AIDS and TB unit at the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, said provider-initiated counseling and testing aims to strengthen HIV service programs.
According to The Herald, the provider-initiated concept is similar to a testing program that is being implemented in Zimbabwe's prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission initiative. Under the initiative, all pregnant women are tested for HIV unless they decline, Mugurungi said, adding that pregnant women also are encouraged to bring their partners for testing. "We discovered that it would be difficult for women to approach their husbands after they had been tested, but if they come together, it lessens the burden and tension in the family," he said. According to Mugurungi, changes in Zimbabwe's HIV testing policies will not lead to mandatory testing. "We will never introduce mandatory testing," he said, adding that "instead we are looking forward to mandatory offer of HIV testing for service providers" (The Herald, 10/27).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.