Thato Farirai has joined the AURUM POP INN team as a technical advisor supporting the NDoH with the establishment of key population centres of excellence in public health facilities. She holds an honours degree in Social Work from Rhodes University, a diploma in project management, and a certificate in Management and HIV prevention. Thato has been involved in HIV prevention with a special focus on HIV counseling and testing, VMMC, and key populations for over 15 years. She has played one of the lead roles in the expansion of HIV testing services in South Africa, through innovative methods of testing for HIV especially index testing and PICT.
She has supported the development of the first HIV counseling and testing policy by the National Department of Health. Her interest in community development projects has sharpened her skills in project planning, implementation, and monitoring. She has been privileged to provide technical assistance to a variety of projects focusing on improving community access to HIV prevention services and improving the skills of service providers to ensure healthier lives.
Thato has been involved in a few research projects including assessments in the past 10 years. These include assessments of knowledge attitudes and practices of youth on HIV prevention in 5 districts in South Africa through funding of KfW (a German Development Bank); studies on the acceptability of HIV Self-testing in KZN and Gauteng; study on methods of provider-initiated HIV testing in health facilities; as well as assessments on adolescent girls and young women access to HIV prevention services. She has co-authored several articles published in peer-reviewed journals.
To relax Thato enjoys working in her garden either planting vegetables or taking care of her flowers. She also loves traveling in Africa and reading good books.