May 30, 2014
This article was reported by Medical Xpress.
Medical Xpress reported on a study in which Rashida A. Ferrand of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and colleagues examined the offer and acceptance of provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling (PITC) for 6-15-year olds. PITC entails healthcare workers routinely offering HIV testing and counseling during health visits. The researchers collected and analyzed data from six Harare, Zimbabwe, clinics.
Results show that of 2,831 children eligible, providers offered PITC to approximately three-quarters of them; 1,534 (54.2 percent) accepted. Researchers diagnosed HIV infection in approximately one in 20 (5.3 percent) of the children. One of five of the accompanying guardians also tested positive for HIV infection.
Ferrand concluded that fear of stigma for the child and family seemed to discourage caregivers from testing children, and suggested clearer guidelines, greater staff support and training, and organizational adjustments in clinics would improve healthcare workers' commitment and properly implement HIV testing and counseling.
The full report, "Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study," was published online in the journal PLoS Medicine (2014; doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649).
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