AHF Argentina recently joined its government and NGO (non-governmental organization) partners for an innovative initiative to reach community members with COVID-19 and HIV testing – operation “Active Search.” The effort spanned two weeks and reached more than 4,500 families throughout 12 neighborhoods in Venado Tuerto, a city in Santa Fe province.
“Active Search,” a locally adapted provincial and municipal version of the national “Detect-AR” plan, was designed to lower the coronavirus contagion curve and limit congestion in hospitals. The actions resulted in testing 324 people for COVID-19, along with 217 for HIV.
“This campaign was vital, both to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to restart HIV testing after months of lockdowns,” said AHF Argentina Country Program Manager Dr. Miguel Pedrola. “Many of the people we contacted wanted to be tested for HIV but didn’t know how to proceed, as they didn’t typically visit clinics. Of those found to be HIV positive, it was their first time accessing testing, and they were immediately linked to treatment.”
At the request of the provincial government, AHF will also provide counseling on effective testing practices as the initiative is expanded to other areas.
In addition to testing, all COVID-19-related medical materials, including personal protective equipment (PPE) for all staff, was provided by the government. The HIV tests were supplied by AHF, which has been working in Argentina since 2013 and currently provides HIV care and treatment to 20,402 registered clients.