There was a huge amount of excitement as we arrived at the Sotik event, being held in partnership with Community HIV Outreach Coordinators who we had also worked with in 2010. We followed a trail of handmade banners hung up around the community promoting the event and arrived to huge cheers and a very warm welcome from the 1000+ audience members who had gathered for the event! The Outreach Coordinators had arranged activities for the whole day and had already held football tournaments, sack races and tug of war challenges – alongside their HIV information activities and HIV counselling and testing services.
We were greeted with a welcome dance performed by HIV Champions from the community, followed by an HIV quiz – with Africa Goal T-shirts handed out as prizes for correctly answered questions. The whole event had a very celebratory atmosphere – it was a great energiser for the Africa Goal team members following a long and tiring drive from Eldoret.
The Switzerland vs Ecuador match helped to keep the excitement and energy of the event going – with loads of tries on goal and a nail-biting finish to the game, with Switzerland scoring in the final minute of extra time.
In total, 103 people accessed HIV counselling and testing – the HIV outreach team and Africa Goal were thrilled to have reached so many people. Of those, three were found to be positive and have been referred for treatment – with freely available treatment now widely available, people living with HIV today can live healthy, full and productive lives. Early diagnosis and treatment significantly improves health outcomes – the fact that those three people will now be accessing treatment will help to ensure that they stay healthy and can live long, happy and fulfilled lives.
Plans are already afoot for the 2018 match in Sotik!