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Provider initiated HIV testing and counseling

Sub-Saharan Africans are the second largest group affected by HIV in Belgium and are more likely to be diagnosed late than other groups. Many diagnostic opportunities are missed because health care providers often simply do not think about suggesting an HIV test. Their Sub-Saharan African patients may not present a clear sexual risk profile, and patients may not ask for an HIV test because of a culturally rooted perception that “the doctor knows best”. But the simple truth is that Sub-Saharan Africans are more likely to be HIV positive because they come from high endemic regions. More than two thirds of all HIV patients worldwide live in Sub-Sahara Africa.

We promote HIV tests in communities and encourage Sub-Saharan Africans to proactively ask for an HIV-test. However many Sub-Saharan African Migrants (SAM) still expect their doctor to propose the test. They may also wrongly believe that every blood analysis includes an HIV test. To overcome these barriers we encourage and train doctors to proactively propose an HIV test to their patients of Sub-Saharan origin. In line with the national HIV Plan, this offer should include HIV related counseling, because an HIV-test is always an opportunity for prevention. In collaboration with Domus Medica, and the Center for General Medicine of the University of Antwerp we create awareness of HIV among SAM among doctors and promote provider initiated HIV-testing and counseling.

Are you interested in implementing Provider-Initiated HIV-testing and Counseling (PITC)?

For health care providers who wish to proactively propose an HIV test to their patients of Sub-Saharan African origin, we have developed PITC guidelines to support them in addressing HIV testing. They are based on the WHO/UNAIDS guidelines, and on our own research on the perceptions of physicians towards PITC. They provide a detailed description of the pre- and post-test counseling steps, give background information on the most common cultural barriers and also contain concrete communication advice. Our one page sheet is a summary of these guidelines and a practical tool for health care providers.

Are you interested in attending a training session?

If you need information regarding provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling, please contact us for training opportunities. We offer trainings tailored to your needs, also for LOK groups or group practices.

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