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[procaare] Durban 2000: VCT - Re:To test or not to test? (6)
- From: Chris Green <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 20:36:40 -0400 (EDT)
Should people go for HIV testing when treatment is not available?
As I read through the correspondence to date, I am struck by what seems to be a paternalist wish among some to
persuade people to present for testing--to 'make testing work' as the recent posting [10/13/00] was headed.
I don't think there is disagreement that testing should be readily available in a friendly and secure
environment, complete with sensitive counselling. Such facilities should also be well-advertised, together
with the reasons for and against testing, but also identifying that counselling will be provided and informed
consent will be required.
But my understand of 'counselling' is that it should not be 'advising' or pressurising, or indeed biased one
way or other. It should present the information as objectively as possible and guide the person being
counselled to reach his/her own decision. This may of course by idealistic; many people have difficulty
coming to decisions. But even in such cases, the counsellor should surely
attempt to identify the likely intent of the person concerned.
I don't believe we have any good evidence to be certain that knowing one's status has a significant public
health impact. That would surely be the only valid reason for pressure to present for testing.
Chris W. Green
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