SOUTH AFRICANS URGED TO TAKE PART IN 2017 HIV AND BEHAVIOUR STUDY

PRETORIA, June 8 (NNN-SA NEWS) -- The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) is encouraging South Africans across the country to participate in the 2017 HIV and Behaviour Study being conducted nationwide to determine the prevalence of HIV in South Africa.

The council started briefly with the study in December in KwaZulu-Natal province, and proceeded to Western Cape Province and Gauteng Province in January. The study was conducted in some provinces in February and March, targeting 60,000 random but scientifically selected individuals across the country. Fieldworkers will be visiting other parts of the country and Western Cape province in June.

The HSRC said it has put about 72 teams of trained field workers together, easily identifiable by their HSRC bibs and carrying HSRC-issued identification cards, who will be interviewing a total of 60,000 individuals of all ages from households in towns, cities and villages across the entire country.

Participation in the survey is voluntary and it is important for as many people who are approached to take part in order for the results to be representative of the whole country. The 2017 HIV and Behaviour Study is the fifth wave of a series of cross-sectional surveys undertaken by the HSRC every four years. Previous studies were done in 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2012, the council said in a statement Wednesday.

The survey aims to determine the HIV status of participants, estimate the number of individuals who were recently affected (if applicable), determine if the participant is taking anti-retroviral (ARV) medicine (where applicable) and assessing the level of resistance to ARVs by those already on the treatment programme.

The council said the study will also identify the prevalence of behavioural and social factors that put South Africans at risk of contracting the virus. These include alcohol and substance abuse, circumcision status and high-risk sexual behaviour. One of the objectives of the survey is also to track access to different types of HIV and health education and/or communication interventions and to evaluate several national HIV communication programmes.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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