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In order for HIV voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to be successful, the approval of and attendance at the VCT centre by the community it serves is necessary. To this end, the Township AIDS Project (TAP), which has VCT sites serving the greater Soweto area, attempts to maintain a high degree of visibility in the community through campaigning and various forms of advertising. To determine whether the social marketing strategies employed by the organisation encouraged attendance, pre-test questionnaires completed by volunteers attending the TAP VCT site located in the Meadowlands district of Soweto were retrospectively analysed. During 2003, approximately 34% of volunteers were made aware of the VCT site through marketing. However, a more important factor in volunteer awareness was word of mouth, with about 46% of volunteers informed of TAP VCT by a friend, partner or relative. This attests to the success of the marketing strategies employed by the TAP organisation in raising community awareness and attendance at the VCT site investigated in this study. In total, 1 141 volunteers completed a questionnaire and 1 054 of these consented to being tested for HIV antibodies. The level of infection among the sample of individuals tested at this clinic-based VCT programme was 29.9%.