Advancements in medical science has made it possible for HIV positive patients to live an improved and lengthier quality life. However there is no known cure for HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus infected patients. Pre and post counselling for HIV testing helps you understand what behaviours you should control to be saved from risk of being infected with the virus and also how to decrease chances of infecting others in case you test positive. Counselling helps you understand what is human immunodeficiency virus and also the process of undergoing the tests.
These pre and post counselling services may not be universally available in all health care centres. There are a few health care centres which do have these services. Ask the staff at the centre of your choice to direct you to a centre which will have these services available.
The pre- test counselling helps you to understand the following
- All the information regarding HIV test – what the tests include, what is the scope of the test, meaning what are the things that do not become clear even after the tests are done and also what is the time taken to get the results.
- Valuable information on the modes of transmission of disease and how to save yourself from being infected,
- An explanation of what is meant by your test results.
Once the tests are done and results obtained, the results are given to you in person. At this time some post- test Counselling may also be given.
Post Test Counselling
The post- test counselling will include the following:
- A clear discussion on what is meant by your test results.
- If your tests happen to be negative then the counsellor will explain to you how you can prevent HIV.
- If the tests show positive then a test which confirms the result called the Western Blot Test is also done. The result will take about 2 weeks to give you the report.
In case your tests are confirmed as positive you might benefit from the following tips:
- The HIV post- test counselling will enable you to discuss with your counsellor what can be done to help keep you healthy. The other very important thing you will come to know is how to save yourself from infecting others.
- The counsellor will also give you proper information about the treatments you can go for and also tell you about physicians available who can put you on a treatment immediately. It is important to start on treatment immediately as timely medication will help keep you healthy and prevent you from progressing into AIDS.
- Pregnant women have been recommended to undergo HIV testing as part of the normal prenatal testing. If the woman is testing positive then she should be counselled on her healthy options and treatment for the condition.
The above discussions shows how important a role pre and post HIV testing counselling can play.