In the build to World Aids Day, Anova Health Institute officially launched their Score4Life campaign at the Alex Plaza today in Alexandra, Johannesburg, which has resulted in over 6 000 men knowing their status since its inception in July this year.
Anova in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Health and Johannesburg Health District, are seeing higher numbers of HIV-positive men between the ages of 35 and 50, which makes this demographic a key focus going forward.
Region Health Deputy Director, Vusi Mazibuko acted as MC addressing the men in Alex today, encouraging them to get tested and know their status. He also challenged the men to consider the appropriateness of intergenerational relationships, playing roles such as “blessers”, or “sugar daddies”, when many have daughters of the same age. He put great emphasis on the need for men to take responsibility for themeselves and their actions.
Score4Life offers free, safe and confidential HIV testing for men in a semi-permanent pop-up facility in the Alex Plaza shopping centre.
Knowing your HIV status empowers you to make the right choices to prolong your life, yet as many as 60% of South African men do not know their status. This puts men at risk of serious illness and untimely death, which is entirely preventable with the right treatment and interventions.
"Men are the key focus in curbing Aids.”, said Mogeru Morewane, Chief Director of Johannesburg for The Gauteng Department of Health.
“Our Score4Life initiative gives men a chance to learn their status in a safe and confidential environment. Testing is, however, just the first step in the HIV prevention and treatment process. To keep the channels of communication open and to provide linkages to localised services and care, participants will be issued with airtime to give them the means to access these services, regardless of their status,” said Dr Diana Mokoena of Anova.
When addressing the men about USAID’s goals for involvement in the project, USAID Mission Director Rebecca Krzywda, said that innovation is the hallmark of their strategy and that this health project was just that, innovative.
To participate in Score4Life men need to be 21 years or older, have a cell phone with an active number and a valid proof of identity. These can include a birth certificate, a South African ID document, a drivers’ license or a passport (of any nationality).
The Score4Life pop-up facility is located in Shop 26 in the Alex Plaza shopping centre, near to Joshua Doore. It is open seven days a week. The testing and counselling is done in private and should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.
**The campaign forms part of the DREAMS Project and is funded by the US President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).