Be part of a new start

In the spirit of Women's Day, New Start HIV counselling and testing centres encourage all women in the country to visit its centres and get tested for HIV.

Women must take charge of their lives and one of the ways to do this is to find out their status.

New Start's senior programme manager Miriam Mhazo said: "Being HIV positive is not a death sentence.

"If you know your status early, you can take steps to ensure that you remain healthy for a long time.

"With proper counselling and support, if you test negative you can remain so, and if you test positive you can be helped to lead a healthy and productive life."

Centre statistics show the rate of women getting tested is on a par with men. Durban is the only exception, at 62percent for women.

There are no queues and no appointments are needed at the centres. Counselling and testing takes about 40 to 45 minutes.

Centres can be found at Durban: 16th floor, Commercial City, 40 Commercial Road. Tel 031-305-6942. Johannesburg: 17th floor, Marble Towers, 208-212 Jeppe Street. Tel 011-333-6868. Cape Town: Lower ground floor, Picbel Parkade, 58 Strand Street. Tel 021-425-5843. Bloemfontein: Room 203 2nd floor, Cuthberts Building, Maitland Street. Tel: 051-430-9595. Musina: Health Information Centre, National Road, Tel: 015-963-2012

All sites are open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm on Saturdays.

For more information about New Start, you can visit: