Integration of Counseling and Testing into Family Planning
The Population Council is assisting in the implementation of provider-initiated HIV counseling within the context of family planning services in South Africa.
At 29 percent, the HIV prevalence rate in South Africa is one of the highest in the world. Contraceptive use among women of reproductive age (15–49 years) also is high, reported to be 65 percent. The most commonly used methods of contraception are injectables (33%), pills (13%), and male condoms (8%).
The South Africa Department of Health has rolled out a number of vertical HIV prevention programs, but uptake of services has been mixed. Offering HIV prevention counseling and testing within the context of family planning services could increase the opportunity for women of reproductive age to better understand how to protect themselves from possible HIV infection and to learn their HIV status.
The Population Council has developed expertise in creating effective strategies and projects focused on preventing HIV transmission, including promoting counseling and testing. The integration of counseling and testing is intended to further South African government policy and national contraceptive guidelines by increasing counseling and testing uptake by family planning clients.
The integration model involves provider-initiated HIV counseling. Based on a client’s preference, either the provider or a counselor conducts an HIV test and post-test counseling. This model has been implemented in 30 clinics in three districts in North West Province and will be introduced to all seven regions in the North West, Gauteng, and Eastern Cape provinces.
The integration has been conducted using the Balanced Counseling Strategy Plus (BCS+) toolkit. BCS+ is a practical, interactive, and client-friendly strategy for improving the quality of family planning consultation, including routine STI/HIV education and risk assessment.
Next steps include:
- scaling up training;
- integrating counseling and testing into family planning services in KwaZulu-Natal and other NGOs;
- adapting the BCS+ tool to other HIV services (such as preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, voluntary counseling and testing, antiretroviral therapy and wellness sites, and antenatal and postnatal care); and
- strengthening monitoring systems to track and provide for the changing reproductive needs of clients at all entry points.
No publications are listed
Location: South Africa (Moretele District, North West Province)
Duration: 10/2006 - ongoing
Population Council researchers:
North West Province Department of Health
US Agency for International Development
US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief