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PIA Press Release

Manual for operating HIV counseling and testing facilities out soon

Manila (31 October) -- The Department of Health will soon be launching a new guidebook for those intending to establish and operate HIV counseling and testing centers.

The Guidelines for Establishing and Operating an HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) Facility, prepared by international consulting firm PRIMEX in close collaboration with DOH and with funding from UNICEF, will serve as a user-friendly tool to guide the process of establishing and operating an HIV counseling and testing facility, particularly for most-at-risk groups.

The 91-page material used among its references the vast experiences shared by Philippine NGOs and LGUs stakeholders who are working in HIV counseling and testing (HCT) field. It is intended for health care providers, such as program planners, medical doctors, counselors, members of hospital-based HIV and AIDS (HACT) core teams, or those who engaged in the process of scaling up HIV counseling and testing in the Philippines. The manual also includes minimum certification requirements that an HCT facility must comply with before it can operate.

The development of the manual was led by Dr. Jose Narciso M. Sescon, PRIMEX HIV/AIDS Specialist and Manual Writer, supported by PRIMEX in-house technical staff led by Dr. Florante P. Magboo, Senior Health Specialist, who also served as Project Coordinator.

In 2006, UNICEF supported the Philippine Government to adapt the generic Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) training manual to the Philippine context, and several rounds of training on its use were implemented. However, there is still low awareness among most-at-risk individuals on HIV risks, testing, care and support, and treatment, and health care providers still lack the requisite capacity and skills in HIV counseling and testing services. (Arvin Yana/PIA) [top]

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