PEPFAR Funds Used To Encourage Swaziland Couples To Get Tested Together

CNN examines the success of an HIV testing campaign in Swaziland that urges couples to get tested together. “The nationwide initiative – funded by the United States government and implemented by global charity ‘Population Services International’ (PSI) – is aimed at couples because tests can be useless if partners are not aware of the others’ HIV status,” CNN writes.

“If partners get tested separately, they may not disclose the results and not get the support they need,” said Dominic McNeill, spokesman for PSI Swaziland, adding, “We wanted to turn HIV on its head and move away from the fear-inducing campaigns we’ve seen in the past, which don’t work. Instead, we focus on love, saying that it is love that should be contagious and couples should get tested together,” McNeill explained.

PSI offers free, “on-the-spot” HIV testing and counseling services “in facilities in the four regions of the country. If results show one or both partners are HIV positive, PSI offers longer-term free counseling,” according to CNN. PEPFAR donated $3 million to PSI Swaziland, which has gone to art, radio, TV and print advertisements and PSI’s HIV testing and services.

“Since the launch of the campaign in April, PSI – which partnered with UNICEF and UNAIDS – told CNN it has already seen a 25 percent increase in couple testing and a 400 percent in general testing year-on-year.” The campaign, which is expected to run through the end of the year, has captured the attention of neighboring countries (Lorie, CNN, 6/17).

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