IntraHealth Launches HIV Testing Campaign Linked to Tanzania's Uhuru Torch Celebrations

Every year, Tanzania celebrates the passing of the Uhuru Torch—a national symbol of freedom and light. Originally lit in 1961 on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, the torch represented the idea of shining hope for independence across the borders, reaching other African nations still under colonial rule.

Starting last year, IntraHealth collaborated with local communities in the Shinyanga region to launch an HIV testing and counseling campaign during the Uhuru Torch celebrations. Next month, the torch will again make its rounds in this region. IntraHealth is working with local health care providers trained under the Provider-Initiated HIV Testing and Counseling (PITC) project to organize HIV testing and counseling at the camps where the torch will stay overnight.

During last year’s celebrations, IntraHealth tested and counseled 3,566 people for HIV—many of them men, who are often less likely to seek these services. One man, who sought testing last year and found out he was HIV-negative, commented, “Coming to this Mwenge [Uhuru Torch celebrations] has been a blessing after all. I have always wanted to know my HIV status but my work does not give me adequate spare time.”

PITC is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and led by IntraHealth International.