Republic Act 8504 says testing should be confidential and voluntary. Let’s leave it at that.
So what’s the process when getting tested?
1. Pre-Test Counseling
Here your counselor might ask you why you’re in the same room as he is, then get ready for bits of facts about HIV—how it’s transmitted & how it’s not, how it progresses, and all other information your don’t normally talk about with your friends over beer (or coffee).
Risk assessment is also done during pre-counseling. At least it’s normally done here. Behavioral (actually, this is sexual) risk assessment is done to check the level of risk you are at in contracting the virus. Your counselor may opt to share with you the actual risk level you are at, or s/he may just take a mental note of your risk level.
2. Blood extraction
Here blood is drawn from your vein. Lol. No fasting is needed prior to blood extraction. Yes, I have had that question thrown at me a few times before.
3. Post-Test Counseling
Here your heart starts to beat faster depending on your anxiety level. They say your pre-counseling should have lessened your anxiety, then again, no one can really tell. If you have the same counselor as the pre-test, there should be continuity (like mental notes taken during pre-test may be applied during post-test counseling)
And yes, this is where the test result is given to you. What happens after the envelope is opened depends on a million and one things. How you (the tested) react depends on how you view the result. How your counselor reacts depends on how you react. There shouldn’t be asset of boxed protocol for your counselor to follow.
Behavioral Change is commonly “campaigned” during post-test, whether your result turns out reactive or non-reactive. A counselor’s mindset on behavioral change varies on your pre-test behaviors and/or practices.
- ENOUGH ABOUT COUNSELING
This of course is not about the quality of counseling one receives before or after an HIV Antibody Test. I simply wanted to share the different locations where HIV tests can be done.
Social Hygiene Clinics are located across the country. Your social hygiene clinic should be able to perform the steps with ease.
- THE TEST IS AND SHOULD BE FREE.
Here’s a list of social hygiene clinics for your reference:
Now, please note however that:
1. Clinic hours may differ from one clinic to the other. My personal experience is that a social hygiene may only do HIV tests during certain hours, and as such, the cut off time may be earlier.
2. Contact numbers may not be updated especially the mobile numbers.
3. Contact persons may not be updated.
- CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS
There are two major organizations vastly working on HIV test programs: