New Limpopo students shun HIV test

Only a handful of new students at Vhembe TVET College’s Makwarela campus rolled up their sleeves for an HIV test, and the head of the campus clinic is concerned.

The campus, which is outside Thohoyandou, hosted a two-day HIV testing campaign recently. They had targeted to test about 1 500 students and came very close with 1 470 students being tested, and the good news is that only six of them tested positive for HIV. 

Concern about new students

However, the head of the clinic, Grace Morulane said very few new students took the test and the clinic will have to work hard to convince them about the importance of knowing their status. 

“Though we are happy with the number of returning students who are willing to get tested and know their status, we are also concerned about the limited number of new students willing to get tested. To win the battle against HIV/Aids we must all be willing to get tested and know our statuses,” she said.

Morulane said the number of returning students who managed to participate in the testing campaign gave her hope that the college was creating leaders who are willing to take responsibility for their health and well-being.

High HIV rate for teenagers

She said she was also buoyed by the number of students who collected condoms from the clinic daily. “Every morning we distribute condoms outside the campus clinic and students take them,” she said.

The Vhembe district was identified last year as having a high HIV-positive rate for teenagers, prompting Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba to visit schools in the area to talk to learners about HIV and teenage pregnancies.

Mukhwantheli Secondary school in Dididi village, outside Thohoyandou, had 36 pregnant learners while 31 learners, aged between nine and 19 from both primary and secondary schools in the area were HIV-positive. – Health-e News.

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