HIV testing and counselling

What is counselling?

Counselling is a private conversation with a specially trained person aimed at helping you to help yourself. Couselling encourages you to explore possible solutions to your problems, and to consider the impact that certain decisions may have on your life.

You must receive face-to-face counselling before you have the test. This is know as pre-test counselling and is aimed at ensuring hat you make a well-informed decision about whether to have the HIV test or not, and  encourages you to explore the possible impact that having the test may have  on your life.

Once the test had been done, you will receive post-test counselling. This is the counselling during which you will receive your result.  We know that people who have good pre and post-test counselling are able to cope better with their results, and are more likely to look after their health, and protect others from infection.

The counselling that you may have once you already know your result is know as ongoing counselling.  On-going counselling helps you to live positively with HIV and provides you with support and guidance with regard to any problem that you may face.

Having the test is your own personal decision. No one can force you to have it.

Why should I be tested for HIV?

If you test negative, you will be able to adjust your sexual lifestyle to prevent future HIV infection.  If you are concerned abut being HIV positive, testing will clarify these concerns.

If you test positive, you will be able to prevent transmitting HIV to others.  If you test positive, you will be prepared to manager your health appropriately

Pre-test counselling

This is the kind of counselling you get before you decide whether you want to have the HIV test.  Some of the issues the counsellor will discuss with you are:

  • Why you decide to come for counseling
  • What counselling is, and the role of the counsellor
  • What you personal history is
  • Whether you have any health problems
  • What you risk of being HIV infected is
  • What you know about HIV/AIDS
  • Information about HIV/AIDS, including the test procedure and what people who are HIV infected can do to make sure that they stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible
  • What alternatives there are for solving you problems
  • Which issues you want to tackle first
  • What impact you think a positive, indeterminate or negative result or negative result would have on your life and how you think you would react to receiving them
  • The advantages and disadvantages for you of having the test
  • What kind of support system you have including who you would be able to tell if you tested HIV antibody positive
  • How you have coped with problems in the past

Post-test Counselling

This is the kind of counselling you get after you have had the test. During this session the counsellor will:

  • Give you your result
  • Let you express your feelings about being HIV positive or negative
  • Discuss ARV-PEP if you test HIV negative
  • Give you information on what other resources are available to help you if you test positive
  • Help you to revisit the issues you raised during the pre-test counselling session, including any plans you may have made
  • Discuss any immediate problems and help you to decide on a plan of actions
  • Answer any questions you may have and provide you with useful information
  • Discuss positive living with HIV

HIV test results are never given over the phone.  You can only receive your results face-to-face.

Ongoing HIV/AIDS Counselling

Ongoing counselling is the kind of counselling that happens after you have received you test result. The aims of ongoing counselling are to:

  • Help you to manage the impact that HIV has on your own life, and the lives of the people around you.
  • Encourage you to take control of your health and take charge of your life
  • Help you to accept your result and live positively with HIV/AIDS.
  • Explore the advantages and disadvantages of telling other people about your status
  • Assist you in tackling your problems
  • Provide emotional and psychological support
  • Help you to strengthen you support system
  • Help you to plan for the future
  • Explore issues around death and dying
  • Refer you to community and other resources

Taking ARV-PEP properly

  • You will be counselled on the need to take ARV-medicines as prescribed; it is important to take the medicines correctly and to know how to deal with possible side effects
  • Taking the ARV medicines correctly in important to prevent HIV infection
  • The ARV medicines must be taken regularly over the period of 28 days to ensure that the medicines are effective in preventing HIV infection

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This page last edited on 12 May, 2023

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