The benefits of HIV testing are numerous. According to the Information Handbook developed by the Ministry of Health, broader knowledge of HIV status can help to promote the adoption of safer sexual behaviour, and ultimately reduce HIV & AIDS in the country.
People may be reluctant to have an HIV test for a variety of reasons, but there are many benefits of testing, the most important being to know one’s HIV status. A person who is infected will eventually become sick and learn their status because of their illness. By then it may be too late to take advantage of treatments and services available. Individuals who know their HIV status will be able to access treatment of opportunistic infections early.
HIV testing services are provided through all BOCAIP centres along with pre and post-test counselling and on-going supportive counseling. BOCAIP HCT services target individuals, couples, groups, institutions, mines, working places, construction sites, remote areas, settlements, cattle posts, farms and shebeens.
HIV testing can be very emotional and stressful. Pre-test and Post-test counselling services are provided at BOCAIP to empower individuals and families to cope with the situation. Counselling session concentrate on emotional and social issues related to possible or actual infection with HIV. Counselling is a confidential dialogue between a client and a counsellor, aimed at enabling the client to cope with stress and take personal decision related to HIV & AIDS. Counselling is adaptable to client’s need. It can be done for individuals and those we love. Counselling services comprise: psycho-social support, home visits, pre test and post test HIV counselling, trauma and bereavement counselling, on-going supportive counselling, pre-marital and marital counselling, Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) adherence counselling, and spiritual counselling. The counselling takes place in various settings such as homes, clinics, schools, workplaces and public places.