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HIV Testing Remains Important Amid Push For Expanded Treatment In Africa

“With a needle puncture on your finger and a drop of blood, the magic of modern science can give you a rapid HIV test in seconds, and so, knowing your status, you are better able to negotiate the rocky road of surviving HIV where timely detection is key,” Farai Sevenzo, a columnist and filmmaker, writes in this BBC News opinion piece, part of a series from African journalists. “But human nature is not so straightforward and despite hundreds of rapid HIV test centers in many capitals, the knee-jerk response is not to want to know,” he continues, adding, “It is this attitude which may account for the continuing high rates of infection.”

“[W]hile the continent grapples with the idea of treatment for all, testing and detection should never be abandoned,” he says, “[b]ecause … there has never been any indication that subsequent generations to those millions we have buried are less keen on sex and therefore more immune to this disease of our time.” Sevenzo concludes, “Come World Aids Day 2012, we should be revising the pandemic’s figures downwards, and giving hope to those who have dared to live longer by knowing their status early on” (12/13).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.