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Promoting HIV-testing in Sub-Saharan African communities

Because of the persistent HIV-related stigma, many people in the Sub-Saharan African community still have concerns about getting an HIV test. This is often related to their fear of the health and social consequences of an HIV positive diagnosis. To address these barriers and to encourage people to get tested regularly, we emphasize the health benefit of the test. With support from our project, Sub-Saharan African community organizations hold their own information sessions which include providing  information on HIV, prevention materials and trainings. The organizations distribute information at events and volunteers undertake outreach sessions to inform people about HIV testing in diverse public spaces, such as bars and shops. Together with the community leaders we also facilitate the “Swab2know project”, which offers free de-medicalized HIV tests in community settings through the use of oral fluid testing (oral fluid collection devices), i.e. saliva on swabs. We train and support all the volunteers who are involved in this testing initiative.

Tools to promote HIV Testing

  • Leaflets “Taking an HIV test, is taking care of your health” ENG NL FR

This leaflet is based on the findings of a qualitative study assessing the barriers to HIV testing among Sub-Saharan Africans in Flanders. It was developed in collaboration with the African HIV networks. It lists the most common questions and barriers and gives simple answers.

This interactive tool provides basic HIV/AIDS related information including modes of transmission, HIV treatment, condom use and HIV testing through the innovative use of photos, drawings and pictograms. It has been designed to be flexible so that it can be used by community members during their own information sessions. Its high degree of visualization allows for it to be easily adapted to specific culturally sensitive demands, e.g. speakers can use their local language and adapt it easily to the level of understanding of their own target group.

Does your organization want to promote HIV-testing?

Contact Dr. Lazare Manirankunda

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