One of the critical pieces of our work is outreach. We go into the disadvantaged communities surrounding Lusaka to meet people, talk about HIV, raise their awareness, and test them. A lot of people still do not know their HIV status and are scared to go to a clinic and get tested.
TTF’s outreach services bring the safety of our clinic into the communities. Clinics can be intimidating, and most people feel comfortable in their own home and familiar surroundings. Our team of social workers and volunteers work closely with communities to identify people or groups that would benefit from HIV awareness and testing. We talk to people in their comfort zones, on a personal level, and discuss the importance of knowing their status.
Since the beginning of 2019, TTF provided HIV awareness and testing to 6,737 people through our outreach programs. Out of that number, 62 tested positive, and of those 21 were 20 years old or younger and/or pregnant, and therefore enrolled at our clinic and provided with medication and psychosocial support. Those who are above 20 years old or not pregnant are referred to the nearest government clinic.
For those who tested negative, they walk away with a greater understanding of HIV and how it is prevented and/or managed. More importantly, they are willing to be tested in the future, and they are likely to share this knowledge within their community. Information is powerful, and through our outreach services, we aim to provide as many people as possible with accurate information about HIV.
The donations and support we receive to conduct these activities go a long way in helping people understand the importance of testing. Thank you to everyone for your continued support!