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HIV Test Counseling

  • By: Marifran Mattson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

HIV testing occurs in one of two ways—either by mandatory testing or through voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). Mandatory testing most often takes place when an HIV test is included within a battery of tests for which a patient's blood has been drawn. Although even in these situations counseling is recommended, it often does not occur because of the extenuating circumstances surrounding the initial need for tests. In the most controversial situations, mandatory HIV-testing programs have been used to test couples planning to marry, pregnant women, and prisoners. Although these programs are generally considered an infringement on human rights, they still exist in some places as relatively desperate measures in response to the persistence of HIV/AIDS.

In contrast, VCT occurs when a person seeks out ...

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