Take HIV test, no questions asked

April 19 – Anyone who fears they have been exposed to HIV infection can go through a test — which is free — which will give results in minutes. And no questions will be asked. The Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) service, also called the ‘No Questions Asked HIV Test’, is now available in the Muscat Governorate.
Several members of the youth underwent blood tests for HIV.
An initiative of the Ministry of Health (MoH), the VCT service was unveiled at the celebration of World Health Day at Muscat Grand Mall, under the auspices of Dr Ali bin Talib al Hinai, Under-Secretary for Planning Affairs, MoH, and Dr Akjemal Magtymova, WHO Representative to Oman.
The theme of the World Health Day was ‘Health for All — Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere’. No one, except the medical personnel involved, will know an individual has come for an HIV test.
Their identity will not be asked for or revealed, no matter what the nationality.
Hameeda al Shuqairy, a Counsellor at the VCT service, told the Observer: “We are here on the World Health Day to spread awareness and conduct rapid tests. On any other day, they can call on 91148040, 90656777, 92318777 and 91496777. Individuals will be given an appointment with the nurse. We will inform the place of the meeting. No one will know the client.” Al Shuqairy has been a counsellor for six years. According to her, individuals go through a lot of stress worrying if they have been exposed to HIV infection.
They are worried they would be seen by others when they go for a test.
“The sooner you take the blood test, the better,” If anyone tests positive for HIV, their blood samples are sent for further tests. They are offered advice on the importance of medication. The centres for treatment in Muscat Governorate are: Al Nahda Hospital, Royal Hospital and Sultan Qaboos University Hospital.
All these measures have been taken in view of the taboo associated with HIV tests and at the same time, help people who are suffering alone.
“Taking the test is important,” said Al Shuqairy, adding that the virus enters the body and affects the immune system, which leads to Aids.