Monday, May 4, 2015

SWAZILAND: More "Circumcise and Conquer" clients at HIV clinics

The Swazi Observer
April 30, 2015

Soka Uncobe got more men on HIV services

by Winile Mavuso
WHILE most HIV positive Swazis do not enroll for pre-ART services because they feel well and don’t see the need to go to the clinic, the Soka Uncobe Male Circumcision campaign ran in 2011-12 saw more men enrolling for HIV care services.

This is contained in a study conducted by ICAP in 2011-2012 with support from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The study was presented to stakeholders during a breakfast meeting at Mountain Inn yesterday.

The objective of the study was to evaluate whether key linkage procedures were implemented in accordance with the new set of standard operating procedures on linkage and retention (National SOP) introduced by the ministry of health. The study explored early enrollment and retention in HIV care among clients newly diagnosed with HIV from two HTC settings (home- and MC-based HTC), as well as finding client, clinic and SOP characteristics that might be associated with early enrollment and retention in care.

Hence, the National SOP was implemented in the Soka Uncobe Male Circumcision campaign during which testing was facility based and the Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS) during which testing was home based.

HIV testing was a requirement for men to get circumcised and those who took up the services also got to know their HIV status. According to the study, from 13 Soka Uncobe sites visited, it was found that many MC files of HIV positive clients included completed readiness assessment forms.

“Interestingly, although similar enrolment rates were observed between study-gender groups overall and within 18 months of diagnosis, proportionally, more Soka than SHIMS clients enrolled in HIV care within three to six months,” reads part of the document.

This could be attributed to the fact that many Soka sites were co-located at HIV care facilities, hence clients were easily linked to expert client counselors.

[Or could this be because more Soca Uncobe ("Circumcise and Conquer") clients got HIV?]
Earlier story

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