Both South Africa President Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, will be tested publicly for HIV/Aids at the national launch of the HIV counselling and testing campaign (HCT) on Sunday.
“(The launch) will see the president and the deputy president… who will be conducting their tests publicly,” government spokesperson Themba Maseko announced at a media briefing at Parliament on Thursday, following Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting the day before.
He said there might also be “a few ministers” present at the event.
“In the provincial launches (on April 30) a number of ministers will also be availing themselves to be tested publicly.”
The aim was to encourage as many South Africans as possible to actually go and test so that they knew their status.
Leaders set example
Maseko said it had been noted that when leaders from other African states had been tested publicly, “we saw millions of Africans in a number of countries” following suit.
“So we want to lead by example. We think this will encourage more South Africans to go and test so that they can know their status,” he said.
The national launch will take place at the Natalspruit Hospital in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.
It was initially scheduled for April 15, but was postponed while Zuma and Motlanthe were both away on official business.
Co-hosted by Gauteng province and Ekurhuleni municipality, the national launch will take the form of a health fair, where HIV counselling and testing will be on offer, together with pap smears and TB, anaemia, blood pressure and blood sugar screening.
Maseko said the HCT campaign’s target was “to test up to 15 million people by June (next year)”.