Existence of national counseling and testing policy and guidelines
This indicator assesses if a country has testing and counselling guidelines, which help standardise T&C across all relevant facilities. These guidelines should conform to international standards and protocols for HIV T&C procedures.
Interviews of key informants at the national (and/or district) level are used to determine whether or not the guidelines exist. Key informants at the national level should include persons responsible for HIV/AIDS; at the facility level they should include practitioners and clinic directors.
The guidelines should be judged against a checklist of minimum elements for all types of T&C (VTC, Diagnostic HIV testing, Routine offer testing, Mandatory HIV screening, pp. 5-6), including:
a. Referrals and linkages across sectors and services
b. Counselling protocols
c. Standard testing protocols
d. Standard pre test information
e. Counsellor training protocols
Geographic location: N/A
Pregnancy status: N/A
Time period: N/A
Type of orphan: N/A
Vulnerability status: N/A
This indicator measures the existence of the guidelines. It does not attempt to address the quality of the guidelines nor of their implementation or dissemination. The indicator also does not capture new developments in the field making it necessary to reassess the guidelines periodically to guarantee that they are in-line with current standards.
When asking if such guidelines exist, the following additional questions may be asked if time and resources allow:
O How were these guidelines formulated? (Explore the process: by whom and based on what)
O Are these guidelines nationally accepted (even if only draft versions are available)?
O To what extent are they implemented? (Explore the extent of implementation as well as barriers and opportunities that were/are being faced in implementation)
O How often are these updated? (Explore the process: how often and by whom).