The focus of New Start is to motivate healthy or asymptomatic men and couples to get tested for HIV. This focus has been effective, with New Start having more male clients (52%) than any similar program. New Start has seven fixed sites and 16 mobile sites that cover the country. The sites, which complement the government's activities, also have mobile outreach teams that target people who do not normally visit public health centres. Testing at the fixed sites costs R25; at the mobile sites--which are positioned to best reach the community, at taxi ranks, shopping malls, concerts and other events--testing is free. The mobile sites have proved very effective at reaching the target population, accounting for 80% of clients seen. The mobile and fixed sites use rapid testing which allows testing as well as pre-and post-test counseling and referrals to take place at one time.
New Start has an extensive referral directory so that clients who test positive or exhibit symptoms of other STIs or TB can be provided information on resources and services available to them. In November 2009, a telephone tracking function was added in order to follow up with those clients who tested positive.
Program reach has been expanded by a franchise model in which some sites are managed by other NGOs. SFH provides training, standards, and a small start-up grant; so that franchisees can effectively manage New Start branded sites indistinguishable from those run by SFH. SFH has approximately 200 staff working on New Start, including franchisee staff there are approximately 300 people working on New Start. In support of the government's Provider Initiated Testing and Counseling program, New Start trainers are also training public sector clinicians in screening, testing, counseling.
SFH is currently preparing two new initiatives for the New Start brand. Training materials were recently completed for Home-Based counseling and testing; the organization is in the process of defining target locations for the at-home program. The team is also exploring options for rapid CD4 count testing, in order to provide more targeted referrals for clients who test positive.
Reported results available.