World AIDS Day Campaign Tests Hundreds for HIV in Kumba, Cameroon
December 6, 2010
The fight against HIV was in the spotlight this week in Kumba area, South West Region of Cameroon, where Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board (CBCHB) staff from the Baptist Health Centre Kumba and the CBCHB Health Service Complex in Mutengene partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Laboratories to launch the World AIDS campaign week Wednesday, November 24th with free HIV screening in Kumba’s main market.
CBCHB staff talking to crowd about HIV testing campaign.
CDC and CBCHB staff took the testing campaign into other regions, while World AIDS Day activities continued in Baptist Health Centre Kumba including daily health education on topics such as the differences between HIV and AIDS, the importance of having an HIV test, HIV prevention and treatment, the right to confidentiality, and other information. Free HIV screening was also provided in the Kumba Central Prison.
Throughout the week nearly 400 men, women and children of different age groups and social classes were tested. Twenty-five tested positive for HIV.
A CBCHB staff member holds a sign urging HIV-positive people to seek treatment at the local hospital.
At least eight of the 25 people who tested positive throughout the campaign in Kumba were women of child-bearing age. The most common question: “Can I still conceive and give birth to a baby that is HIV negative?” The answer was always a strong “Yes you can,” in part thanks to the CBC Health Board prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV program funded by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
The World AIDS campaign ended in Kumba on December 1, when the staff of Kumba Baptist Health Centre marched across Kumba Town, making brief stops at densely populated areas of the town to provide health education about HIV prevention and information about access to treatment.
Staff members marched across Kumba Town on World AIDS Day.
The free screening proved a big success as more people kept coming to the health centre even when the testing supplies were exhausted.
While World AIDS Day is officially over, our campaign to bring services to those most in need and create a generation free of HIV continues.
Terence Ndifor is the CBCHB Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Program Coordinator in Kumba, Cameroon.