HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) is the most important entry point for HIV-related treatment, care, support and prevention. A significant number of children in South Africa live with HIV. According to figures provided by the Department of Health, an estimated 32 940 children under 15 years of age were living with HIV and AIDS but were not on treatment." These facts highlight that every effort must be made to facilitate HIV testing in this population within the framework of applicable legislation and policy. Once tested, children can be placed on treatment, and linked to care and support.
The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), through the SA National AIDS Council (SANAC), was commissioned to provide technical support to the Department of Health to ensure implementation of the goals for voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) as set out in the 2006-2011 National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB (NSP). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided the funding for this initiative.
Through an extensive consultative process with key staff from the Department of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), civil society, non-governmental organisations, academics, policy makers and practitioners working with children more generally and in HIV/AIDS specifically, the HSRC led the development of a series of implementation guidelines and training tools, dealing with the legal, ethical and counselling issues related to HIV testing of children.
This package of tools include: a trainers' manual, participants' manual, legal guidelines for implementers, as well as counselling and testing implementation guidelines.
To download these tools, go to: http://www.hsrc.ac.za/Media_Release-444.phtml