T for Testing – why we are supporting National HIV Testing week

Nov 21 2014

The ABC-T message is our method of integrating HIV awareness messages into our cricket coaching. The T is for testing – a key element in fighting the spread of HIV and living positively with HIV.

Testing is also a core element of cricket, for instance asking for a guard to test your set up or testing technique new skill at the end of a coaching session. Normalising testing in a cricket environment, where children can immediately see the benefits and often enjoy the testing process, helps to break down the stigma that prevents many young Africans from getting an HIV test.

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.

testingtent

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.

About The Author

Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB) is a UK registered charity (number 1154576) that uses cricket as a vehicle for delivering health and social messages in sub-Saharan Africa. It is run almost entirely by the dedication and enthusiasm of its volunteers.
Since its formation in 2005 CWB has become one of the world's leading Cricket Development charities. It is dedicated to helping, educating and developing local communities around the world through the spread and growth of cricket.