|Counselling and Voluntary HIV Testing for Pregnant Women in High HIV Prevalence Countries - Elements and Issues (UNAIDS, 1999, 24 p.)|
|4. Counselling and voluntary HIV testing: a prerequisite for action|
The most effective interventions to reduce transmission from mother to child depend upon a woman knowing her HIV status, and that in turn depends upon the availability of information, counselling and voluntary testing services.
It is not necessary to wait until the full range of services is on offer before integrating HIV-related information, counselling and voluntary HIV testing into routine pregnancy care. At the very least, women can be provided with information about reducing their and their partners exposure to HIV infection, and about avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Health professionals can also ensure services before and during delivery that minimize the childs exposure to HIV infection.
Pre-test information and counselling and post-test counselling will differ according to the needs of the client. The following sections discuss issues that should be considered in pre-test counselling for individuals and couples. The post-test information and counselling needs of HIV-positive and HIV-negative women and their partners are discussed separately.