Aurum Institute, in conjunction with the City of Ekurhuleni’s Health Department, took HIV testing services to Birch Acres Mall taxi rank on March 22.
Despite the rainy weather, commuters and shoppers queued at the stalls waiting for their turn to get tested for different ailments.
Aurum’s recruitment and retention team leader, Zithelo Zikalala, said the aim of the event was to promote a healthier lifestyle among the Tembisa community.
“The aim was to target taxi ranks and malls to do HIV and health screenings, TB screenings and STI screenings.
“We were giving away condoms. The outcome was to promote HIV testing in the community of Tembisa and the use of condoms,” said Zikalala.
He said the reason the institution went out to residents was to get the message across and because there are people who do not associate themselves with going to clinics.
“We have also been going to hostels to do TB screening, promote a healthy lifestyle among people and encourage people to know their status.
“In spite of the rainy weather, the event is a success because people reached out and came for testing and they asked questions to get informed about what we are doing,” said Zikalala.
He said to measure the success of the event they will go back to the clinic and go through the collected data as to how many people got tested and how many came in to ask questions.
Zikala said through these events they are not only creating awareness regarding HIV but they are also able to invite people to come into Tembisa Hospital, where they are based, and people can learn more about what Aurum Institute’s clinical research division does.
He said to connect and learn more about Aurum Institute people can go to their website auruminstitute.org
“We are also running clinical trials called Uhambo 702, which is the biggest HIV prevention vaccine trial currently being run in South Africa.
“We are inviting all young people between the ages of 18 to 35, both male and female, who would like to participate in this clinical trial.
“The aim is to give people an added preventative measure to HIV prevention,” said Zikalala.
Ekurhuleni health promoter from Endayeni Clinic Tshilidzi Nndwambi said March is TB month and therefore they were collecting TB sputum and other tests done on the day.
“Our aim is to target taxi drivers because they don’t have time to come to the clinic. We are bringing the service to them and giving out pamphlets so they can read about this information,” said Nndwambi.
Community member Nhlakanipho Simelane went in for an eye test and was eager to go on to test for other diseases.
“Testing is the right thing to do for young people. Young people must know their health status and not get surprised when they are in their 40s. This event shows that the City of Ekurhuleni cares about the health of Tembisa people and we are happy with what they are doing,” said Nhlakanipho.