HIV COUNSELING

In the year 2002, for the first time in the state of Andhra Pradesh the health ministry through the Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society introduced the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centers(VCTC). These centers managed by a HIV Counselor provide vital support in not just identifying positive persons but also ensuring psycho-social support through counseling.

Prajwala was identified by the State to screen, recruit, train , place and monitor all the HIV counselors placed both in the VCTC and the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission Centers(PMTCT). 140 counselors were trained and placed in 122 Hospitals in 88 VCTCs and 34 PMTCT projects in the year 2002.

BATCH
No.of Counselors
No .of Centres PMTCT
VCTC
I (Apr 02)
15
7
2
II (May 02)
18
4
12
III (Jun 02)
15
2
15
IV (Jul 02)
23
1
19
V (Aug 02)
18
-
17
VI (Oct 02)
16
-
10
VII (Feb 03)
28
14
2
VIII (Apr03)
     
TOTAL
140
34
88

The induction training for these counselors covered different issues related toHIV/AIDS such as:

  • The HIV/AIDS Epidemiology
  • STI, RTI & PMTCT program
  • Role of counseling –pre and post test
  • A familiarization with ones own understanding of Sex and Sexuality-which is vital for a free and unbiased counseling interaction.
  • Counseling techniques and the qualities of a good counselor
  • Care and support in HIV/AIDS Management
  • Recording and Documentation

These issues were addressed by a select group of specialist doctors and mental health professionals who form the Prajwala core team of trainers.

Anti Retroviral Counseling Center

In the last 23 years the HIV virus, which causes the syndrome AIDS has grown from a series of outbreaks in several groups into a global public calamity. In these 23 years several studies have been made to study this virus and the disease to find a possible solution for the cure. However till date there has been no cure for AIDS. In the last one decade there have been some landmark developments such as drug to prevent mother to child transmission. This drug reduces the risk of transmission of HIV from mother to child from 35% to 10%. Similarly, drugs collectively known as antiretroviral drugs have been found that prevent replication of HIV in the body. Therefore today the treatment of HIV infection has some answers.

This treatment approach can be summarized as:

  • Preventing the replication of virus by antiretroviral drugs
  • Treatment of opportunistic infections
  • Psychosocial support

Since ART is a recent development, most people living with HIV/AIDS are not even aware of these drugs. Those few who are aware are not clear about the implications of these drugs and live with a lot myths and misconceptions. It is in this context that counseling plays an important role. In collaboration with Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society, Prajwala started the Anti-Retroviral Counseling center in Osmania General Hospital in the year 2004.Till date over 13,073 have benefited through the counseling center.