Nigeria and South Africa Launch Toll-Free AIDS Hotlines
South Africa and Nigeria have launched toll-free hotlines aimed at giving callers "the latest and most accurate information" on HIV/AIDS, Reuters Health reports. Nigeria launched its hotline on Tuesday, while South Africa's hotline, launched on July 30, is an updated version of the nation's existing AIDS Helpline. South Africa's 24-hour hotline, which maintains a 68-member staff speaking 11 languages, has the capacity to field up to 200,000 calls per month but currently receives only about 20,000 calls each month. AIDS Helpline Manager Pamilla Mudhray said that approximately 84% of the hotline calls are placed by individuals ages 15 to 29, with 60% of the calls coming from males. Most callers ask about methods of HIV transmission, how to use condoms and where to obtain HIV testing. Iwalola Akin-Jimoh, executive secretary of the Nigerian hotline, said that most callers to Nigeria's phone line are older than 24, although the hotline "targets younger adults." South Africa's phone line was developed by the South African government, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs and the local NGO LifeLine. Nigeria's hotline was created by the Lagos State HIV/AIDS Foundation, JHU/CCP and the local Youth Empowerment Foundation (Reuters Health, 8/22).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.