NYAGATARE - Many men in Nyagatare District are avoiding free voluntary HIV tests with their spouses despite mass sensitisation campaigns carried out by health officials.
Most of married men who talked to The New Times in Karama Sector, preferred seeking the tests without their spouses to avoid squabbles in the family.
“It would turn violent if I go for HIV test with my wife and my results turn positive when she is negative. I would rather go for the test alone,” affirmed Jean de la Paix Sindayigaya, a resident of Kabuga Cell.
“I just secretly go for HIV test without informing my spouse. This becomes easy forme to handle her in case the tests results are positive”.
However, the head of Voluntary HIV Testing and Counselling at Kabuga Health Centre in Karama Sector, Donat Mubangizi, explained that it was advisable for couples to go for HIV tests together.
“This helps us to counsel them on how they should live the rest of life in case they test HIV positive. Residents should be convinced that an HIV-positive person can even live for many years if he or she seeks counselling from health officials,” he observed.
It emerged that apart from some men who decline to accompany their spouses for testing, others just shun the test all together.
“Some men believe that if a woman goes for HIV test and tests negative, they are also negative. That’s why a big number of them (men) don’t go for HIV test,” noted another resident.
Health officials in the sector believe that new HIV infections in the sector have drastically been checked as a result of mass campaigns conducted under a new project: “Behaviour Change and Social Marketing (BCSM)” which operates under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church.
Over 121 couples in the sector sought free HIV test last week during the project’s mass campaign in the 14 sectors of the district.