FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Answer: Yes ARV’s are free at all government facilities, namely, clinics and hospitals.

Answer: No. Government laboratories do not offer this service to people who have not tested positive for HIV. 

Answer: Condoms are highly effective provided they are always used correctly. Condoms are checked for quality by the South African Bureau of Standards. Information on the effective use of condoms is available in all clinics.

Answer:  No, the Africa Centre for Population Health does not offer financial assistance as we don't have any grant funding for this.

Answer: It is not easy to see if a person is HIV infected or not. The only way to know your status is to visit your nearest clinic or make use of the Africa Centre for Population Health/Department of Health ART home and mobile HCT service or HIV counselling and testing centres to know your status. This is a free service.

Answer: You are advised to meet and arrange this with your Community Advisory Board (CAB) member. CAB members have the schedules for training sessions. School educators and other government departments should contact the Africa Centre for Population Health directly for information about computer training courses.

Answer: It is important to provide education on HIV, AIDS and ART to the families of the infected people and the community at large. In most cases, people discriminate due to the lack of information or misinformation. Family counselling services may also be offered to the family; counsellors at clinics can always assist with such services.

Answer: Research is a way to find answers to difficult questions with a view to advancing understanding and knowledge.

Answer: The Africa Centre for Population Health is a research institution that focuses on health and population research. We were established in 1997 through a grant provided by the Wellcome Trust which is a global charitable organisation based in the United Kingdom.  The Africa Centre for Population Health is engaged  in two major surveillance projects. The first is the demographic surveillance which tracks almost 90,000 people who are members of 11,000 households and records changes occurring to the population as a result of migrations, births and deaths. The second is  HIV Surveillance which involves annual HIV-testing of all resident adults and a sample of 12.5% of non-resident adults from the area. Moreover, Africa Centre supports the Department of Health (DoH) to implement the HIV Treatment (ART) programme in the Hlabisa Health Sub-District. The overall aim of the Africa Centre for Population Health is to find answers to difficult scientific questions or health related problems.

Answer: The timing of ARVs is as stipulated in the South African National Consolidated Guidelines on Management of HIV (2015).  The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • HIV positive women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or within 1 year of delivery regardless of CD4 cell count;
  • HIV positive children under 5 years, regardless of CD4 cell count;
  • HIV positive adults and children 5 years and above with CD4 cell count ≤500 cells/ul or symptomatic HIV infection (WHO Clinical Stage 3 or 4) including TB co-infection;
  • HIV positive adults with hepatitis B co-infection.”

Answer: The Africa Centre's for Population Health transport policy stipulates that vehicle user are not authorised to give anybody a lift. This is because any such passenger is not covered by the Centre’s insurance in the event of an accident. This means that only authorised persons are allowed to travel in the Africa Centre for Population Health vehicles.

Answer: This is important so that we can understand beliefs, behaviours and attitudes regarding sexual behaviour. This also assists researchers to understand why the number of people who become infected is not decreasing.

Answer: This information is important in helping to understand the burden of diseases in the community, thereby helping the Department of Health to appropriately target their interventions where they are needed the most.  If during their visit Africa Centre field works find that the family has a problem in coping with the loss, a referral is made to Africa Centre social workers and psychologist.

Answer: HIV testing conducted by the Africa Centre for Population Health HIV Surveillance team is done for research purposes only. This means that if you give an Africa Centre field worker a sample of your blood you will not get your results. The purpose is to observe the rate of HIV infection in the area to see whether it increases or decreases. The community is advised to make use of home and mobile HIV counselling and testing services offered by the Department of Health which bring these services near their homes, which the Africa Centre for Population Health is also a partner through its ART programme.

Answer:   The reason is that there are three main modes of transmission of HIV, namely; sexual contact, infected blood and mother to child transmission. Even though you do not have a partner, you may have been exposed to infected blood or other body fluids in some way, so it is important to test for HIV.