Stop HIV tests in schools

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) must not conduct HIV-testing drives in schools, the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has instructed provincial education MECs.

Her spokeswoman Hope Mokgatlhe said: "What's been happening is that NGOs go into schools to test learners, but there are no guidelines for this in the department of basic education,"

"We support the government, in that everyone should be tested and know their HIV status, but there are a lot of challenges to conducting the tests in the school environment."

Problems in testing minors without without parent consent

She said there were a number of legal issues incurred in the testing of minors, for example, where parents needed to give their consent.

Other problems included stringent confidentiality measures and specialised teacher training to support pupils diagnosed with the virus.

Mokgathle said the department of basic education was in consultation with the health department to draw up guidelines for the handling of HIV in the school environment.

(Sapa, August 2011)

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