December 1st is World AIDS Day. Image: Supplied

City of Cape Town conducts nearly 50 000 HIV tests, less than 2% were positive

Ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December, the City of Cape Town is shining the spotlight on HIV prevention and awareness.


December 1st is World AIDS Day. Image: Supplied

City Health has made big gains in the past two years, with the introduction of HIV self-testing, and Pre- and Post Exposure Prophylaxis.

City Health has also been on the forefront of implementing new HIV and tuberculosis (TB) policies and guidelines rolled out by the National Department of Health.

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The City HIV programme has expanded to include prevention strategies like Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

The programme is also using new strategies to find untested people through HIV self-screening (HIV SS) and Index Case Testing (ICT).

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Targeting groups that don’t test enough

The overall goal is to improve HIV testing among persons who under-test such as men, adolescent girls and young women.

It seeks to improve couple testing among pregnant women and lactating mothers and provides an option for regular repeat HIV testing in high risk populations.

Between April 2022 and October 2023, 47 773 clients have had assisted HIV SS at City facilities, of which 825 tests were positive.

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The City will be rolling out secondary distribution of HIV SS test kits in 2024.

Reducing stigma

“These programmes are important in reducing stigma and discrimination,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross.

“They are also critical in the expansion of access to treatments, giving people at risk choices and encouraging them to check their HIV status, while helping those who are negative to continue with prevention.”

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Since implementing PrEP at City Health facilities two years ago, more than 12 000 people have started treatment at the 67 facilities offering this service.

As PrEP is not a life-long treatment, clients can safely discontinue PrEP when their risk of the virus is no longer high, or if it is their preference.

Post Exposure Prophylaxis is also available at City facilities, to any clients who attend within 72 hours of potential HIV exposure.