Bwindi Community Hospital sends its’ HIV team into the surrounding area three days each week for a targeted mobile testing and sensitisation. There is still a large number of people who unaware of their HIV status and with limited access to testing services.
Gervis is a father of seven children and lives about 20 kilometers away from the Hospital. Gervis and his wife have been getting AIDS treatment from Bwindi Community Hospital since 2007. He lost his first wife in 2001 because there were no HIV/AIDS services in the area, and nearly died himself before he began receiving treatment from a distant Hospital more than three days walk from Bwindi.
Gervis has said, “It is better now because people don’t have to walk the long distances to the Hospital since the HIV team comes to a health Centre close to my home. This service was a total relief for me and my family. Not only is it near home, but the service is much better and educative.”
More than two hundred local people living with HIV have joined one of our patient support groups, which meet in different parts of the Bwindi area each month. Out of these support groups, a drama group has been started which tours schools and churches delivering a delightfully funny and poignant play about a man whose life is changed when he finds out he is HIV positive and accesses treatment.
Some members of the patient support group have also started teaching in schools. They have been trained by Bwindi Community Hospital in basic teaching methods, and run lessons about HIV prevention and stigma-reduction into every classroom in the Bwindi area. Other members have been lucky enough to receive young female goats that they take home and rear, returning the first female offspring to the group so that another person can benefit.
Our family support group is for pregnant women with HIV and their partners. Managing HIV within the family is tough and there are many financial, gender and emotional issues that the group explores. This group is led by the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV nurse.
More than 1,400 people test for HIV each month. Each year we conduct a community survey that gives us information about which parts of the Bwindi area have the largest number of untested people. We take counsellors and laboratory staff to these places in order to give all people an opportunity to know their HIV status
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