Patients needing medical attention at Michael Mapongwana Community Health Clinic and the Khayelitsha District Hospital say the staff has refused to assist them without first getting tested for HIV. 

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A patient who does not wish to be named from Makhaza in Khayelitsha has told Buzz Life News that he was sent home after refusing to partake in an HIV, blood test, after visiting the hospital for a stomach ache. “I have stomach cramps. I did not go there for an HIV test. I know my status, I don’t need to get tested every time I want to see a doctor,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right that I should be forced before getting checked.”

A person accompanying her sister said, her sister took the test. “I think because she knew her status and had no issue. But it is still wrong to refuse to help people unless they take an HIV test. It is not compulsory to take the test.”

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According to the national and provincial health departments and the country’s constitution, HIV testing in South Africa is voluntary. Communication officer for the provincial health department in Khayelitsha East, Abulele Dyasi, said HIV testing is voluntary and not compulsory, it is available at all provincial healthcare facilities. “Our facilities follow health guidelines and offer HIV testing to patients who have signed consent forms. HIV testing is recommended for pregnant women to ensure they receive treatment and to protect unborn babies, but it is at the discretion and decision of the pregnant mother,” said Dyasi.

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