HIV Testing Services (HTS) include Pre-test Counselling, Testing and Post Test Counselling. Tebelopele offers quality HTS to everyone which includes individuals, couples, child and adolescent, key populations regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation and without stigma, discrimination and judgement. These services are provided through different modalities which include: static centres, outreaches to the communities, workplaces and underserved populations.
During the Pre-test counselling session an HIV Counselor establishes rapport with a client assures confidentiality and ensures a conducive environment where a client will feel relaxed and comfortable to discuss issues surrounding HIV. The session also identifies the risks the client has come across and provides the counsellor with time to explain the process of conducting the HIV test and possible results.
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Testing session entails collection of a blood sample through a finger prick to run an HIV rapid test using serial and parallel algorithms where applicable as per the Botswana’s Ministry of Health and Wellness, National HIV testing Guidelines. The last session being Post Test Counselling is all about receiving the results and accepting them, risk reduction plan, disclosure plan and referral for relevant services. HTS is the gateway to HIV related services and it is very pivotal for individuals to know their HIV status for a positive lifestyle.
In ensuring quality HTS, Tebelopele ensures both the Internal and External Quality Assurance practices where on weekly basis counsellors run quality control samples and proficiency testing twice a year. In addition to these, supply chain management is applied across all the Tebelopele Centres and the warehouse. Counsellors are also observed on regularly basis, combined with regular technical and mentorship visits to ensure quality HIV Counselling and Testing.
Tebelopele has now integrated HIV with other health services in some select centres with the goal to expand quality integrated health services provision to all its eighteen centres across Botswana. These services include: STI Screening and Treatment, ART Prescription and Dispensing, Viral Load and CD4 monitoring, Family Planning Commodities, Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment.
HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing can be offered through different approaches such as in outreaches, work place, mobile and satellite sites, and in a freestanding site. VCT services in Tebelopele are provided through facility based services, stand-alone (freestanding) centres and mobile outreach programs. In the facility based VCT approach, services are offered in Centres situated in major villages with a certain defined population. The Centres have independent structures, which comprise of a Centre lead, Counsellors and support staff, and report to Head office for monitoring, quality assurance and improvement. However, they may not appeal to groups who often do not readily go to health facilities, such as young people and men.
Mobile HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing refers to services offered outside of a freestanding site, commonly known Tebelopele VCT Centres, and could be conducted in mobile units/ caravans, using tents, in the workplace, in shopping malls or in village wards. The overall goal of providing Mobile HTC services is to improve access and utilization of the HTC services by taking services too hard to reach and underserved populations while maintaining the set standards. Tebelopele has successfully used the mobile VCT approach in all its 16 freestanding Centres which has improved service delivery and accessibility to clients in hard to reach and urban areas to know their HIV Status.
This mode of VCT service delivery has been seen as a way to reach out to segments of the population that do not readily access health facilities, especially young people and men. It is also worth noting that the same quality service delivery standards at the freestanding Centres are upheld during the outreach activities.