News > A mobile HIV/AIDS counseling and testing clinic hits the road in Zahedan, Southeast of Iran
Report from: ZAUMS Communicable Diseases Control Department
Published on: 28 April 2018
HIV is not an easy virus to defeat. Nearly a million people still die every year from the virus because they don’t know they have HIV and are not on treatment, or they start treatment late. This is despite WHO guidelines in 2015 recommending that all people living with HIV should receive antiretroviral treatment, regardless of their immune status and stage of infection, and as soon as possible after their diagnosis (1).
While the annual number of new HIV infections in several WHO regions has been declining in recent years, new HIV infections have been on the rise in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region. The estimated number of new infections increased by 28% from 29 000 infections in 2010 to 36 000 in 2017. This is the highest rate of increase among all regions (2).Out of 350 000 estimated people living with HIV in the Region, only one third are aware of their infection and only 18% have access to life saving treatment (2).
Worryingly, knowledge about HIV, especially among the youth is low. Understanding how HIV is transmitted and knowing your HIV status is very important when it comes to protecting yourself. There is still a great deal of stigma about HIV, often as a result of ignorance on how HIV is transmitted and what it"s like to live with HIV.
HIV/AIDS counseling and testing is central to HIV/AIDS control efforts. Through HIV/AIDS counseling and testing, individuals can learn their HIV status and receive personalized risk reduction counseling to help prevent acquisition or further transmission of HIV. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing can help communities address issues of prevention, denial, stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and can mobilize support for HIV/AIDS control efforts (3).
Recognizing the need for a greater awareness of HIV in the community, especially the youth, on the third day of the National Health Week 2019, a mobile HIV/AIDS counseling and testing clinics was launched at the University of Sistan and Baluchestan. This mobile clinic seeks to increase awareness among at risk, as well as the vulnerable population, and improve access to HIV testing services within the community. The counseling and testing process varies according to each client’s needs and can take as little as to 10 minutes, with results being merely shared with the client. Zahedan University of Medical Sciences has been planning to expand this intervention to other universities located in Zahedan city to improve access to HIV/AIDS counseling and testing services.
Copyright © 2019 Zahedan University of Medical Sciences. All rights reserved. Date Updated: 28/04/2019.
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3. Khumalo-Sakutukwa G, Morin SF, Fritz K, Charlebois ED, van Rooyen H, Chingono A, et al. Project Accept (HPTN 043): a community-based intervention to reduce HIV incidence in populations at risk for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa and Thailand. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008;49(4):422-31.
|Date : 29/04/2019 11:14
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