HIV testing must always be done with informed consent, adequate pre-test information or counselling, post-test counselling, protection of confidentiality and referral to services.
According to WHO: “HIV testing must always be done with informed consent, adequate pre-test information or counselling, post-test counselling, protection of confidentiality and referral to services.” When testing PWUD, the counselor has the right to not test if the client is too impaired and is unable to make an informed consent.
Prior to conducting any tests, an individualized assessment of capacity should be made in each case. The purpose of this is to verify the following:
Counselling is an essential component of testing.
These are some fundamental general considerations for counselling:
The standards formulated in the VCT concept highlighted above are an indispensable prerequisite for offering testing. The counselling takes place in two sections: the consultation before and the consultation after the test (pre-test and post-test counseling). HIV and or HCV testing should be carried out in such a way that the person being tested learns about HIV and HCV and risk management.
The consultation before the test provides: information on the expiration of the test; the meaning of a test result; clarity on personal risks; and answers to questions. Central to pre-test counselling is a detailed risk assessment (partly supported by a questionnaire), which can establish a connection between a possible transmission risk and the test procedure in such a way that it is comprehensible to the client. The content of the counselling can vary depending on the setting and the needs of the client.