HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing: A Qualitative Assessment of Teachers’ Perceptions Regarding HIV status and VCT after an Intervention Workshop
An intervention workshop was organised by a community-based project with aim to promote HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) and assess the perception of participants about the benefits of VCT and knowing their HIV status. The intervention workshop was conducted on a group of thirty teachers who consented to participate in the study. For the qualitative assessment, focus group discussions on three thematic topics were conducted and the outcome collated and analysed for consistency. The three themes were - benefits of an individual knowing his/her HIV status; harms of an individual knowing his /her HIV status; how to facilitate or encourage VCT uptake. The focal group discussions showed that there were fundamental psychosocial barriers to acceptability of VCT amongst the study participants. These included the issue of stigmatisation, fear of death from AIDS, negative effect on relationship and emotional depression. The study shows the need for healthcare professionals and policy makers involved in HIV/AIDS control to develop more patient- centred and friendly intervention that will overcome these negative perceptions of VCT.