SIC was one of the first providers to offer free, mobile HIV testing and counseling service in clinics and village centers in Tanzania. Allowing people to know their HIV status helps prevent onwards transmission, identifies individuals in need of treatment, and gives those who are uninfected hope for the future and motivation to maintain their negative status.
Although free HIV testing is available in several clinics in Arusha town, many people in outlying villages have no money to reach them. We therefore take our testing services to them, arranging in advance with village leaders to come on a particular day. Trained counselors provide high-quality counseling and HIV testing at convenient locations in the villages where we work and at individual homes when arranged by SIC staff and community health workers. Testing is always available in conjunction with our awareness campaigns, and at regular intervals on an ongoing basis.
In 2007, we began using testing tents (pictured here) to improve patient confidentiality and the flexibility of our testing unit – now we can set up anywhere! Testing is always voluntary, and includes pre- and post-test counseling by certified HIV counselors. Those who test positive may choose to access support services through our Community Health Worker program.
Our mobile testing service has been in high demand, with over 60,000 tested to date. We rely on donations to help keep our testing unit operational and to help us reach our goal of testing 20,000 additional people by the end of 2011.