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Voluntary Counseling and Testing Program in South Africa Successful

The Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) program in South Africa, has been quite successful in the past financial year between April 2005 and March 2006, the Department Of// Health reports. The number of people tested has almost doubled as compared to last year.

Around 1,715 588 attended the free counseling before testing. 80 percent went ahead and got tested for HIV. About 35 percent (479086) among those who were tested were found to be HIV positive. Health Department attributes this success to the AIDS awareness campaign of the government, which encourages youngsters to get tested.

Government allocates nearly R26 million annually for VCT services. Voluntary Counseling and Testing is available in 4172 service points across the nine provinces

About 5.5 million out of the country's total population of 47 million HIV-positive according to reports.

Mr Mngadi invites everyone to avail these services and assures that any information would be kept highly confidential. 'All testing is voluntary and users of this service are requested to give consent for HIV testing after appropriate counseling,' he added.

Any suggestions are welcome as VCT was keen on preventing HIV and improving its services.

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