Testing before Tying the Knot: New Campaign in Tanzania Focuses on Engaged Couples

By Chelsea Bailey | June 14, 2013

A counseling center at a health clinic in Tanzania

EGPAF

It’s wedding season in Zanzibar, Tanzania and as brides and grooms throughout the country prepare to tie the knot, health officials are launching an advertising campaign encouraging couples to know their status before they wed.

In an effort to make getting tested more common, health officials will air TV ads throughout the country, encouraging couples to get tested three months before their wedding. The most popular ad features family members and friends celebrating at a wedding while a narrator emphasizes the importance of getting tested before marriage. 

Dr. Ahmed Khatib Reja, head of the Zanzibar Integrated HIV Programme, says though Zanzibar’s incidence of HIV/AIDS is lower than other countries, there is still a great need for effective strategies to prevent the spread of the disease.

“We need more people to test, because only 28 percent of the Zanzibar population knows about their HIV status," he said.

Though stigma and discrimination prevent many people infected with HIV from revealing their status to their partners, Reja said he hopes the ad campaign will work in conjunction with counseling and continued outreach to help combat barriers to successful HIV/AIDs prevention.

By knowing their HIV-status before marriage, couples can help prevent spreading the virus to each other and their future children. In Tanzania, The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) supports more than 1,300 sites that provide prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services along with HIV counseling and other health services throughout Tanzania. 

To learn more, visit our Tanzania country profile.

Chelsea Bailey is Communications Assistant at the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.