Aids kills millions of people around the world every year, many of whom don’t know that they’re HIV positive. Others do know their status but might not know what medications are available to them. That’s why the integration of the info4africa HCT (HIV Counselling and Testing) database into the YoungAfricaLive (YAL) youth focused mobile social network is potentially very important.
Announced today by Praekelt Foundation and info4africa, the new feature will provide YAL users information on HIV testing sites across South Africa.
The service, which goes live on World Aids Day (1 December) this year, includes what the organisations say is “the most complete database of HCT (HIV Counselling and Testing) sites in South Africa”. This they say means that YAL users will be able to search for, and find their nearest HIV Counselling and Testing site anywhere in South Africa.
YoungAfricaLive users will find a link to the new feature on the homepage of YAL SA on Vodafone Live! Users will then be able to query the info4africa HIV data via a series of drop down menus to find a clinic in a certain province, city or suburb within South Africa. Once the clinic has been chosen, information provided includes the name of the clinic, a click-to-call phone number, address and the type of service available.
According to Praekelt Foundation founder Gustav Praekelt, the service could potentially help people avoid discrimination when they go for testing:
People often prefer to visit a clinic for testing and treatment in a different area to where they live to ensure anonymity because of stigma and discrimination. The data and functionality we’ve made available together with info4africa will provide many more people with access to the most comprehensive information and the freedom of choice at the same time. It’s another way in which the use of mobile technology for the most basic handset can help to change people’s lives.
Debbie Heustice, Director of info4africa said “we are really excited about the partnership with YAL to bring the users of YAL more comprehensive information on HIV testing sites across South Africa. info4africa (formerly HIVAN/HIV-911) specialises in data collection and referrals to over 12 000 health, wellbeing and development support services across South Africa. We have a long history of working in the fields of health, wellbeing and development and believe that this partnership will further increase use of the referral network”