In addition to breaking down the stigma of testing during coaching sessions, CWB also works to improve access to testing. Where possible we work with local community led HIV testing organisations to bring HIV testing to cricket sessions.
The first testing to take place at a CWB cricket tournament was in Kenya in 2012, where one in two people with HIV don’t know they are positive! CWB linked up with local charity APHIA II (AIDS Population and Health Integrated Assistance) with tents supplied by the British Army to run a testing centre alongside a cricket tournament.
This was the start of many such ventures. During our latest trip to Uganda, we linked up with a local health clinic in Lugazi to offer testing and post-test counselling to the young people playing in a cricket tournament.
Knowing your status allows positive decision making, whether the person is HIV positive or not, which can both stop the spread of HIV or ensure a quality of life for people with the disease.
In order break down stigma, normalise testing and overcome complacency, testing must not be reserved for ‘at risk’ groups. Our HIV lead Amardeep Singh has recently been tested at his local hospital. He explains why;
‘I requested an HIV test while at a dermatology appointment. I felt I needed to 'practice what I preach' as a CWB volunteer and 'know my status' before I went out on my second project.
‘The need to routinely test people of all ages and backgrounds is great.’
We support National HIV Testing week as ‘knowing your status’ is crucial in making the right decision in anything you do, but is absolutely critical in positively dealing with HIV/AIDS.