Aug 31, 2008
how to counsel the pre and after testing hiv patients?
Response from Dr. McGowan
HIV testing is best accompanied by counseling to provide education about HIV and how it is transmitted. The testing process in the US is undergoing "streamlining" in order to remove any obstacles to getting more people tested. The most important thing to impart is that the test is a mesasure of antibody and that it is a reflection of the body's immune response to infection. Recent exposures (within 3 months) may test falsely negative and should be repeated 3 months after the exposure. If time permits a discssion about safer sex practices, the use of clean needles, and prevention and screening for STDs should also be done. All persons testing HIV-positive (confirmed by Western-blot testing) should be referred to care with an HIV specialist.
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