The Risk Is Not Knowing….Get Tested!
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
May 20, 2009 (SKNIS)
Provider Initiated Testing and Counselling (PITC) has been added to the HIV testing options available in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The National AIDS Secretariat of the Ministry of Health is continuing a series of PITC Education Sessions in St. Kitts, the first for 2009 beginning today, (May 20) and the second May 21, both at the Foundation for National Development (FND).
PITC involves a health professional recommending to someone, under their care, that they take an HIV test. As long as the individual agrees, this would be accompanied by counseling. There are two primary occasions where the health care provider may recommend an HIV test. The first is diagnostic testing where there is the presence of a medical condition such as tuberculosis or medical symptoms including unexplained weight loss. The second is routine recommendation where there is potential benefit such as for pregnant women, where there is a high probability of infections, for example, for persons living in areas with a high prevalence of the virus or when treating for sexually transmitted infections.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations organ pertaining to HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have advocated for an increase in PITC, along with VCT which would fall under a universal systematic offer of HIV testing and counseling, leading to the goal of universal access to such services.
This coupled with effective counseling for behavior change provides an opportunity for HIV prevention.
Approximately, 30 health professionals are expected to attend the one day educational sessions over the two-day period at FND. They include nurses, doctors and dental surgeons. Aspects to be covered include introduction to training, benefits and barriers to testing, patient education strategies and giving HIV test results.
The one-day PITC education sessions were initiated earlier this year.