TB HIV Care Voices: We need to walk in our service users’ shoes

Staff blog. Submitted by John Mutsambi (HIVP (Prep) Technical Lead)

This year’s World Aids Day theme was ‘Know Your Status’ and it was aptly chosen given that UNAIDS estimates that more than 9.4 million people living with HIV do not know their status.

This message – know your HIV status – applies to everyone including healthcare workers. By seeking HIV testing, I believe that we contribute to raising the profile of HIV testing services and also to securing public confidence in the healthcare system. Modelling this behaviour could, as I see it, help increase demand for HIV testing.

This conviction prompted me to commemorate World AIDS Day 2018 by getting tested for HIV. Guess where I sought the test? From our TB HIV Care mobile wellness clinic in Dunoon.

Wearing my blue TB HIV Care T-Shirt, I approached the mobile van where, Fezeka Mfengu (HAST Counsellor), a young, energetic and rather shy counsellor, welcomed and invited me into the mobile clinic with a broad smile. After the greeting etiquette, she got down to business which started with pre-test counselling, seeking my consent for the test, then screening for tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections and other non-communicable diseases. All this was followed by the HIV test which gave results in 15 minutes. I could feel my heart pounding as each minute passed by, but the feeling that I was doing the right thing comforted me. This short waiting period put me in the shoes of those who seek our services.

On receiving my HIV test result, post-test counselling, which included information on HIV prevention, was conducted. The counsellor followed the national testing algorithm to the letter. Her caring attitude and the service I received showed me that Fezeka is walking in the shoes of our service users. These are our counsellors!!! Thank you for contributing to taking our organisation to great heights of success.

World AIDS Day 2017

World AIDS Day is marked on 1 December every year. It is an important day on our calendar. A day to shine the spotlight on HIV, re-ignite important conversations, share how it affects us all and (particularly for this year’s campaign) focus on how we can prevent the spread of HIV.


The South African National AIDS Council’s (SANAC) theme for World AIDS Day 2017 was ‘I have the right to know, prevention is my responsibility’. It focused on an individual’s responsibility in the fight against HIV, including the importance of knowing one’s status, practicing safe sex and adhering to treatment.

The slogan of South Africa’s World AIDS Day campaign was both simple and impactful: Let our actions count!


TB HIV Care supported SANAC’s campaign with World AIDS Day events across the country. These events, small or large, offered communities free HIV testing and counselling as well as a host of other healthcare services, including TB screening, STI screening, family planning advice, basic health checks (glucose and BMI) as well as counselling, advice and support.

The focus this year was on prevention and so our events encouraged people to know their status (in order to protect themselves and others), promoted voluntary medical male circumcision as well as educating people on correct and consistent condom use. Thousands of condoms were distributed.

Our teams took to the streets, transport hubs, sports events, workplaces and stadiums in order to spread the word – often collaborating with the Department of Health, civil society organisations and other NGOs.

Here are a selection of images from the week:

Western Cape

Delft Day Hospital: TB HIV Care’s CEO, Harry Hausler, with the Western Cape MEC for Health, Nomafrench Mbombo.

Western Cape Premier’s Office

The Mitchells Plain DSTV Festival (VMMC team)

Protea Park, Atlantis (which included a 5-a-side soccer tournament)

Eastern Cape

Walter Sisulu University Stadium: TB HIV Care’s OR Tambo team at the WSU stadium on World AIDS Day. Attendees included the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa and the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Mr Phumulo Masualle.


Pietermaritzburg: Workplace events at Dunlop, Abadare and Willowtown Oil.

UThukela District: The TB HIV Care provided healthcare services at the Dukuza sportsfield in UKhahlamba. The KZN Premier, MR TW Mchunu delivered the keynote address.