IntraHealth Supports Free HIV Testing for Namibia's HIV Campaign

IntraHealth recently contributed to Namibia's 2nd annual National HIV Testing Campaign, a collaborative project that offered expanded HIV counseling and testing services at no charge throughout May, 2009. The campaign’s purpose was to create greater national awareness about HIV and offer services to those who need counseling and care. To improve accessibility, counseling and testing sites in every region of the country extended their hours, offering services from 8 AM to 8 PM. Hospitals, clinics and New Start Centres nationwide offered testing resources, and the campaign set up temporary testing sites in several Windhoek locations.

IntraHealth works with several organizations in Namibia to deliver HIV counseling and testing services, including partnering with the Council of Churches in Namibia in a clinic in Windhoek. Karl Naimwhaka, site manager, explained that the testing campaign purpose was to encourage Namibian citizens to understand the importance of knowing their HIV status and make informed choices about their behavior.

"Preventing new infections is our only hope for significantly reducing the overall number of HIV infections," he told us. Pamela Conjwa, a clinic counselor, added, "The campaign is reaching people in the 20-to-35 age-range, which is good for reaching at-risk clients.”

During last year's testing day, 33,000 people visited centers throughout the country for testing, exceeding the government's target of 12,000.  For this year's campaign, the government commissioned new vehicles to help connect people in rural areas to testing sites. Naimwhaka noted that at his center alone, about 1,400 people came in for testing during each day of the campaign.