Health: Ethiopia seeks world record in mass HIV testing

by Zelalem

More than 3,300 Ethiopians on Sunday took part in voluntary HIV testing in what organisers hope is a record-breaking feat.

Organisers had hoped to test 2,000 people in Ethiopia’s Gambella region, but recorded a larger than expected turnout.

Data released by officials indicated that 3,383 people were tested as a part of HIV testing and counselling (HCT) campaign in the region.

Ethiopia’s Gambela region has the highest number of people living with HIV in the East African country.

Official records show that 6.5% of the region’s population is HIV positive.

The testing took place from 7am to 3pm, with officials indicating that this could be the highest number of people tested for HIV at a single venue in eight hours.

“Out of 3,383 people who took the voluntary test, 82 people [were] found to be positive,” Rahel Gettu, spokesperson of UNAIDS Ethiopia, said.

The data is yet to be recognised by the World Guinness Book of Records.

Despite registering more than 800,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, Ethiopia is one of 25 countries that successfully reduced new HIV infections by 90 per cent.

A report by UNICEF last week shows new HIV infections in Ethiopia fell to 15,100 in 2013 from 135,000 in 2001.

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