Population Council, 2008. 26 p.
In South Africa, care and support and antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for individuals infected with HIV is available at a few selected hospitals as a first step in the national treatment roll out. However, counseling and testing for HIV (C&T) is currently limited to antenatal care (ANC) settings and a few stand-alone centers. Uptake is limited, even within the ANC setting where C&T is systematically offered to clients for the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). C&T services have yet to be integrated into other reproductive health services. While providing C&T services within family planning (FP) services may not be effective in every context, in South Africa FP services are well utilized and so the Government is seeking opportunities to expand access to and use of C&T services through other well-utilized services. This integration strategy requires the reorientation of FP services to not only integrate C&T but also to strengthen education and screening on STI risks and information on dual protection. The degree of linkage or integration may affect the quality of existing services and information is also needed to determine whether integrating services leads to increased uptake of FP or C&T. The Population Council's USAID-funded Frontiers in Reproductive Health (FRONTIERS) Program, in collaboration with the National Department of Health and the North West Provincial Department of Health and with support from PEPFAR, initiated a two phased operations research study. Phase I of the study, reported here, assessed the feasibility, effectiveness and cost of two models of integrating C&T within FP services, while Phase II will focus on the development and evaluation of a single model that merges aspects of these two models. The overall objectives of the study was to test the acceptability, feasibility, and cost of two different models of integration of counseling and testing for HIV into family planning services in South Africa and to evaluate their effectiveness against standard practice.
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