Preventive Counseling: It is important because:
- For those who have been or currently in behaviour and are planning their future and see help.
- For those who are in risk behaviour but do not seek help.
- For those who are not in risk behaviour but want to be aware of HIV/AIDS.
Preventive Counseling becomes more important where testing facility is not readily available. Specially in high risk activity areas there is a need to change behaviour and to maintain low risk behaviour. The areas of preventive counseling include risk assessment, risk re-education, counseling and HIV/AIDS information. Counselors are acting as health educators providing simple and clear information, they also clarify if there is any misinformation and assist in decision-making and implementation of behavioural changes.
The goals of preventive counseling are to help the client:
- By recognizing personal threat for HIV infection as his or her personal risk.
- Assessing past and current risk of HIV infection.
The counseling session may need following important points at the beginning:
- Discussing the prevention in view of assessing risk of getting HIV.
- All culturally taboo subject such as explicit sexual behaviour, substance use, must be discussed.
- It is necessary to explain that the purpose is not to make assumptions or judge a person but it is prevention from getting infection or transmitting it.
- The necessity of reviewing all forms of risk behaviour is a must.
- Explaining the risk area of HIV risk assessment.
- Assess if the client know how the HIV infection is transmitted and clarify if there is any misinformation.
- Enquire the client whether he had in past or currently high risk behaviour.
- Assessing the client for his /her HIV risk when discussing other concerns and any misconception.
- Summarize the discussion with the client’s risk of HIV which is leading to risk reduction.
- When the client is feeling discomfort and embarrassment while discussing explicit sexual behaviour and using substance acknowledge it, and assure that these are normal reactions.
- The counselor must prepare them for any explicit Or very personal information which normally is not shared with others and again assure them of confidentiality.
The chief points for risk reduction:
- Make out that HIV transmission is avoidable.
- Risk behavior changes must be identified that will help reduce client’s risk of transmitting HIV.
- Behavior changes can be planned though changing drug use behaviour and sexual behaviour is difficult, but step by step can be changed over a period of time with effort and commitment.
- Strategies to overcome potential obstacles need to be implemented, also is the need for sustaining new behaviour,
- Reinforcing positive changes and evaluation of success attained. It is worthwhile to have a follow up session with the client to assess the extant of changes occurred so that the client can be encouraged for his positive action undertaken by him.