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TCE Zambezia goes for school based HIV testing

The key for HIV behavior change and to be in control of HIV is to know your HIV status. People living with HIV/AIDS and who do not know their status are at high risk to infect others, and or being re-infected as well as reducing one’s chances of a longer and healthier life.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Mozambique is a generalized epidemic where all people are generally in a risk of being infected by the virus. Therefore the access to voluntary counseling and testing is very important. ADPP Mozambique through TCE program during 2014 has referred a total of 24.000 people for HIV testing and approximately 15% of the total, got tested.

ADPP Mozambique promote TCE as a fundamental basic approach with mass mobilization to gain control of the HIV and TB epidemic and to improve the health of the people in the communities. ADPP Mozambique has been developing the TCE approach to include prevention, care and treatment of tuberculosis and as well improved nutrition.

TCE Zambezia is reaching out to 700.000 people in the same province. Campaigns to know one’s HIV status has been part of the strategy TCE uses in getting each person to become aware of what decision to make in life in reference to one’s own HIV result. Such encouragement of getting to participate in HIV testing is what is gaining more support especially among most vulnerable populations to the infection of HIV virus. The school going youths are one of the brackets which the TCE program is starting to put more focus in how to empower the youths to build a line of defence against the HIV epidemic.

An aggressive campaign in mobilizing students attending schools in Zambezia has seen hundreds of teenagers getting basic counseling on HIV testing and risk of early sexual debut. After a number of group counseling sessions to give enough education on the topic of HIV and AIDS the youths, through agreement with the secondary school authorities, volunteer to get tested. Much recently at one school in Quelimane, Zambezia province of Mozambique about 175 youths get to know their status which was a huge step forward in bringing HIV services to schools.

The event was organized by a Development Instructor, 7 TCE Field Officers and the school Headmaster including his deputy. The school infrastructure shortage has seen 3 shifts of students attending class in the morning afternoon and evening. The secondary school’s resources are over stretched to care for a total of 6.000 students.

The headmaster of the school was very much happy for such a development for he is worried by the high incidents of teenage pregnancies which lead to school drop-out among the female students.

TCE’s systematic approach is one of the keys for the successful results. TCE educates and mobilize individuals in en-masse with a house-to house, person-to-person campaign that encourages lifestyle changes and preventive behavior. The back-bone of TCE is the locally trained and engaged Field Officers who each will be responsible for an area of 2.000 people (350-400 households). Throughout the 3 year project period their job is to inform and counsel every individual in their field. The field officers do also work with the schools to reach the youth and teachers, workplaces and community centers.

ADPP Mozambique has been engaged in the combat of the HIV/AIDS and TB epidemic for the last 15 years implementing Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE). Until now it has reached more than 2.2 million people, with an effective response in mobilizing and organizing individuals and communities to take control of the epidemic. TCE is based on the principle that “Only people themselves can liberate from the HIV epidemic”.