Counselling about antiretroviral therapy (ART) is thought important to prepare patients for treatment and enhance adherence. A workplace-based HIV care programme in South Africa instituted a three-step ART counselling protocol with guidelines prompting issues to be covered at each step. We carried out an early evaluation of ART counselling to determine whether patients understood key information about ART, and the perceptions that patients and health care professionals (HCP) had of the process. Among 40 patients (median time on ART 83 days), over 90% answered 6/7 HIV/ART knowledge-related questions correctly. 95% thought counselling sessions were good. 93% thought ongoing counselling was important. Recommendations included the need for continuing education about HIV/ART, being respectful, promoting HIV testing and addressing the issues of infected partners and stigma. 24 participating HCP identified additional training needs including counselling of family and friends, family planning, sexually transmitted infections and running support groups. 90% of HCP thought that counselling guidelines were helpful. The programme appears to be preparing patients well for ART. Counselling should be offered at every clinic visit. Counselling guidelines were a valuable tool and may be useful elsewhere. The evaluation helped to assess the quality of the programme and to suggest areas for improvement.
Stenson, A.L.; Charalambous, S.; Dwadwa, T.; Pemba, L.; Du Toit, J.D.; Baggaley, R.; Grant, A.D.; Churchyard, G.J. Evaluation of antiretroviral therapy (ART)-related counselling in a workplace-based ART implementation programme, South Africa. AIDS Care (2005) 17 (8) 949-957. [DOI: 10.1080/09540120500100940]