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Counselling in HIV Infection

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Topics

Introduction

Counselling is face to face communication by which you can help the person make decisions and act on them. It aims at preventing transmission of HIV infection and providing psychological support to those already affected.

Counselling is a helping process aimed at problem-solving. It helps people to understand themselves better in terms of their own needs, strength limitations, and the resources they can avail of. It brings about change through a supportive relationship, aiming to make the client independent through the interpersonal contact along with opportunity to ask questions and to meet frequently and help greatly.

Tips for Good Counselling

  1. Greet your client.
  2. Make him/her comfortable
  3. Create the confidence of the client in you and assure confidentiality.
  4. Listen carefully to his/her problems.
  5. Do not interrupt while he/she is talking.
  6. Try to elicit more information regarding his/her problem.
  7. Counsel over a number of sessions and be empathetic towards the client.
  8. Provide information on the issue for which your client has come.
  9. Help him/her to reach a decision.
  10. Time to time reassurance and follow up regarding health condition.
  11. Encourage client to decide regarding communication of his problem to the family members/spouse. It should be done in the presence of the counsellor.

The medical officers undergoing training should be able to improve through a series of role plays the following qualities viz.

Willingness to listen, empathy and understanding of client’s good communication skills, non-judgemental attitude i.e. should not bring his/her own values and impose on the client and maintain confidentiality, about their life, boost their self-confidence, improve family/community relationships, and support the families of infected people by providing encouragement and care for those with HIV infection.

Functions of Counselling

Prevention

Counselling is concerned with preventing infection with HIV and its transmission to other people and living with HIV/AIDS. The main steps of preventive counselling are:<

  1. determine whether individual/group has high risk behaviour patterns.
  2. help people to understand and acknowledge their high risk behaviour patterns.
  3. define with them how their life style and self image are linked to their behaviour.
  4. help individual define their potential for changing behaviour.
  5. work with individuals to introduce and sustain the modified behaviour.

Health Promotion

This involves counselling those individuals having high risk behaviour patterns but not aware of the magnitude and the nature of risk involved to their life. It aims at creating this change focusing on behaviours that present a risk of HIV infection and reviewing ways of managing individual change.

Specific Protection

Those infected with HIV should be given instructions as to ways by which they can prevent the spread of infection to others. An attitude of understanding should be adopted as the fact that he has tested positive is traumatic enough to accept. Since behaviour change is going to be difficult he should be asked to take certain precautions:

  1. do not donate blood
  2. use condom while have sexual intercourse
  3. do not share needles and syringes.


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