Door knock HIV tests to deal with AIDS in Lesotho

Lesotho, the tiny African kingdom is about to launch its own campaign to mark World AIDS Day.

The country is using door-to-door HIV tests in an effort to turn back an epidemic that infects almost a third of the adult population.

The World Health Organization says that the main aim of the campaign is that all people above the age of 12 years living in Lesotho will know their HIV status by the end of 2007.

Lesotho, is a very poor mountainous country completely surrounded by South Africa, and the epidemic of HIV/AIDS has wreaked havoc as farmers die, and agricultural production is diminished.

In more and more families children are being forced to take over as the head of household after the death of their parents.

In most of Africa, many people are reluctant to go for HIV tests because of the stigma accorded to people who have AIDS, and such attitudes contribute to widespread ignorance about the virus, allowing it to spread further.

According to the WHO Lesotho, which has a population of around 1.2 million, may provide a good testing ground for reversing this trend because it has a history of mass health interventions.

The WHO says that as Lesotho has a successful history of carrying vaccinations from house-to-house, the same approach will be used to offer HIV testing and counseling.

Officials say as the tests will be free, but not compulsory, they hope the door-to-door approach will persuade more people to find out if they are infected.

The campaign, with the slogan "Know Your Status", will be launched by the WHO's Global Director for HIV/AIDS Jim Yong Kim and presented as part of the activities held to mark World AIDS Day in Africa.

Africa remains the continent worst hit by the epidemic.

The United Nations say that almost 26 million of the estimated 40 million people infected with HIV worldwide live in sub-Saharan Africa, and of almost 5 million new infections recorded in 2005 more than half occurred among Africans.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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