The Department of health is partnering a non-governmental organization (NGO) to introduce a technologically-advanced mobile HIV testing clinic in a bid to encourage more people in South Africa to test for the virus.

The pilot project by the department and the NGO, Shout It Now, will see trucks equipped with advanced technology deployed to various areas in Gauteng Province. The NGO, in fighting the AIDS pandemic through technology, is moving from mobile tents to hi-tech mobile trucks.

In order to get tested, clients begin by punching in their personal details, like ID and cell phone numbers, on the computer screen of the truck’s kiosk. Their details are captured through biometrics in order to keep track of their record.

Getting tested can take as little as 10 minutes with results being shared via SMS. Those who test positive are then sent to another truck, where they receive necessary assistance.

The doctor will draw blood, counsel you and if you are eligible, you will walk out with ARVs (anti-retrovirals) right there and then,” said Shout It Now Chairman and founder Bruce Forgrieve.

“At that point our call centre will call you because we have your number. We follow up to see whether you’re doing well or not. How are you doing with treatments? Do you have any questions about the treatment? And make sure your feeling supported.

“What we need to do is make sure you also go to a clinic, so we give you referral forms to a clinic.

The project aims to process up to 250 people a day in previously inaccessible areas. The Health Department has welcomed the pilot project and hopes it will ease the burden on the health system.