Implementation guidance for health providers and planners

Post disclosure and diagnosis support

Disclosure support for adolescents should go beyond them just knowing their HIV status. The common challenges surrounding HIV continue throughout adolescence, sometimes with different concerns for those infected as children – through mother-to-child transmission – and for those infected during adolescence. In addition, adolescents from key populations experience legal and social concerns.

Wherever possible, adolescents should be provided with an opportunity to ask questions, discuss the issues and the challenges they face, and be supported to tell others their HIV status in a safe way. Health care providers should provide adolescents essential post-diagnosis and/or post-disclosure support. This should include initiating and facilitating discussions to explore the benefits and challenges adolescents may experience knowing their status; and to discuss existing and potential support mechanisms, including peer support opportunities. Adolescents recently diagnosed should be asked who they may want to inform and be encouraged to seek out someone they trust to support them.

Conducting role plays with your colleagues can be a useful way to prepare for a consultation on HIV disclosure. Role plays assist in preparing for unfamiliar or difficult situations. In acting out scenarios, you can explore likely reactions and different approaches to responding to them. They also help to your build confidence to handle real life situations.

Role plays are best acted out using three people: one person as the client, another as the health care worker and the third as an observer. The role of the observer is to provide helpful constructive feedback and comments.