Program Areas

Clinical Services

HIV Counseling and Testing

When NUMAT began in 2006 the 2005 Uganda National HIV & AIDS Sero-Behavioral Survey (UHSBS)—which was the last countrywide survey conducted on HIV—estimated a 6.4% prevalence of HIV in the population. However, prevalence in North Central Uganda was 8.2%. Despite this, fewer than 30% of the estimated one million people living with HIV in Uganda knew their status. This implied that HIV counseling and testing (HCT) rates were low despite the availability of services. Recognizing HCT as the entry point into the HIV & AIDS-related continuum of care and preventive services, NUMAT used the approach below to ensure access to HCT and expanded services to those who needed them in Northern Uganda.

NUMAT HIV testing photo

Communities accessed HIV counseling and testing at the facility level and through NUMAT-supported community outreach.

The NUMAT strategy complemented efforts of the MOH and other stakeholders within the general framework of the government of Uganda. NUMAT worked within existing structures and the national HCT policy to sustain service delivery through the following approach.


Approach

NUMAT consolidated and strengthened existing HCT sites and supports the establishment of new HCT service delivery points. The AIDS Information Centre (AIC) lead the delivery of HCT services and transferred best practices to the health workers at the HCT sites. This was done mainly using the voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) model of HCT service delivery and outreach to communities (especially in hard-to-reach areas) and most-at-risk populations.

NUMAT supported integrated outreach services at the remaining internally-displaced persons (IDP) camps and hard-to-reach or mobile peripheral communities. This enabled people in IDP camps, discordant couples, youth and children, fishing communities, and other high-risk populations to access services.

NUMAT also targeted HCT promotion, community mobilization, and distribution of information, education, and communication (IEC) materials in all target communities to convey the importance of knowing one's status.

NUMAT placed tremendous importance on bringing quality services to the people through regular technical support and mentoring to service providers as well as quality assurance and control on the samples tested.


Specific Activities

  • Supported health facilities to conduct HCT, mainly using the VCT model
  • Conducted HCT outreach to communities, IDPs, and hard-to-reach areas
  • Worked with health workers and network support agents to link those tested to care and prevention services
  • Coordinated re-testing of samples at central laboratory to ensure quality
  • Established and supported existing psychosocial groups such as post-test clubs and discordant-couple meetings
  • Offered couples counseling and testing to married people
  • Trained health workers in HCT-related information and practices to build their capacity
  • Prevented stockouts by mentoring health workers in logistics management and procuring buffer stock

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