OVER 1,000 couples in Kampala turned up for HIV testing ahead of Valentineâ€™s Day celebrations on Friday.
The campaign, held at Nakasero Market, attracted market vendors and customers.
The voluntary free testing services, organised by the Uganda Market Vendors Association in conjunction with Uganda CARES, the health ministry and the AIDS Health Care Foundation, was aimed at reducing risky behaviour during the celebrations.
â€œWe encourage couples to prevent the spread of the disease through voluntary counselling and testing,â€ said Dr. Kate Ssamula, the programme coordinator of mass testing at Uganda CARES.
â€œSince many couples value this day, we encourage being faithful and the use of condoms to protect themselves and their partners,â€ she added.
Ssamula said those whose results turned positive were counselled and referred to Naikivubo Clinic, where they are assessed and given free treatment.
She, however, expressed disappointment that few people knew their HIV status.
The exercise was also carried out in Kansanga, Bugolobi, Kawempe, Nakawa, Kamwokya and Katwe markets.
Henry Magala, the programme manager of the Market Vendors AIDS Project, said few people wanted to take the test. He said free testing was ongoing in Masaka, Lyatonde, Rakai and Mpigi districts.
Couples test for HIV for Valentines