Increasing Access to HIV Testing and Counseling

Overview

URC participated in a 12-month multi-country evaluation of three models of providing HIV testing and counseling (HTC) in outpatient department (OPD) settings. URC conducted the South Africa portion of the evaluation entitled Strengthening HIV Test Access and Treatment Uptake Study (Project STATUS).

From 2006 to 2011, URC worked with the national and provincial Departments of Health in South Africa and the Ministry of Health in Swaziland to expand access to and the use of provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling (PITC). The project integrated HIV testing with key services, including antenatal and family planning care, services for sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis (TB), as well as general care. The project actively assisted in the shift to PITC as a key strategy to connect people living with HIV to care and treatment services and combat TB/HIV.

Achievements

  • From 2006 to mid-2010, more than 220,000 people in South Africa and 45,000 people in Swaziland were tested for HIV 
  • Assisted national partners in developing locally adapted versions of international PITC models, including national policy and guidelines 
  • Developed capacity of health care workers to provide HTC and build linkages between key HIV services 
  • Integrated HTC with other services, such as family planning, antenatal care, and TB and introduced ways to reach more people, i.e., home-based HTC
  • Integrated counseling/testing and HIV prevention with high-volume services and services for patients most in need of counseling and testing (i.e., those receiving services for antenatal care, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and/or TB) 
  • Supported the development of HTC policies and guidelines and train health care workers to provide counseling and testing and HIV prevention services 
  • Promoted HTC and HIV prevention services through community outreach and social mobilization 
  • Provided supervision and mentoring to enhance the quality of counseling, referral, and follow-up of HIV patients 
  • Trained workers in data management, recording, and reporting 
  • Evaluated models of providing HTC in OPD settings in South Africa
Duration
2006 to 2012
Funders 
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Partners 
Health Systems Trust
The AIDS Information and Support Centre (TASC)
Geographic Scope 
Six provinces in South Africa and nationwide in Swaziland