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Making HIV testing accessible

HIV test by Millenium Promise 500

Image by Millenium Promise

HIV Testing Services are critical to the achievement of UNAID’s 90-90-90 targets as the gateway to a complete continuum of care. But for many people – particularly people from key populations like sex workers and men who have sex with men – the clinical setting is stigmatising and people are reluctant to disclose personal information to health workers. Others are not accessing testing and treatment because of poverty, rural isolation, family responsibilities or harmful gender norms and attitudes.

The World Health Organization’s new guidance on HIV testing recommends the delivery of HIV testing by non-medical ‘lay providers’, often in community settings partly because they are able “to offer culturally competent, non-judgemental and respectful support which can improve the uptake of HIV testing in key populations”. Community-based non-medical sites therefore have a vital role to play in the scale-up of HIV prevention, testing and linkage to care particularly for vulnerable and hard to reach populations in high-transmission areas.


With this in mind, the NACOSA Training Institute has developed a 10-day accredited HIV Testing Services training package specifically designed for people working in community organisations. The skills program is aligned to ID 49256 Further Education and Training Certificate in Counselling at NQF Level 4 and is a HW-SETA approved Skills Program. It is also eligible for CPD points (continued professional development). The course trains lay providers to provide quality pre and post-test counselling, conduct finger prick testing and provide ongoing support for people living with HIV.