HIV Testing and Counselling
Adolescents are vulnerable to and at relatively high risk of HIV infection. However, both access to HIV testing and counselling (HTC) and uptake among adolescents remains low. In order to increase access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and to support HIV prevention choices, it is essential that adolescents know their HIV status. This has implications for the prevention of new infections as well as for improving their own health.
Deterrents and barriers to accessing HIV testing for adolescents need be addressed at many levels – including at primary health care facilities, as part of community interventions, and in terms of national HIV testing policies. Engaging, innovative strategies are required that encourage and provide opportunities for HIV testing among adolescents.
HTC is not an end in itself, but rather is a means to engage adolescents and link them to essential HIV treatment, care and prevention interventions. HTC also provides an opportunity to encourage health-seeking behaviours both among those testing negative (e.g. future re-testing for HIV, safe sex etc.) and those testing positive (e.g. linking to care services and supporting adherence to ART).
WHO recommendation on HIV testing and counselling for adolescents
- HIV testing and counselling, with linkages to prevention, treatment and care, is recommended for adolescents from key populations in all settings (generalized, low and concentrated epidemics).
- In generalized epidemics, HIV testing and counselling with linkage to prevention, treatment and care is recommended for all adolescents.
- In low and concentrated epidemics, HIV testing and counselling with linkage to prevention, treatment and care is recommended to be made accessible to all adolescents. Read more