The counsellor has a number of functions to perform, including:
Determining what the client already knows about HIV/AIDS.
Developing an individualized risk assessment and risk reduction plan by taking proper history on the individual’s behaviour, and work with them to understand associated risks.
Facilitating the counselling process so that clients define how their life styles are linked to risk behaviours, and the potentials for changing. The counsellor should also work with the individual or group to work out a plan towards the intended modified behaviour. This process requires support of partner, family, colleagues and community and the counsellor must explore ways of involving them without putting the client at risk of stigma and discrimination.
Determining the feelings and concerns of the client. Those who know that they are infected may fear discrimination and isolation, loss of job or housing, interruption of education and financial problems. They may have concerns about their future and that of their families, physical course of the disease and hospitalisation. They may even have feelings of loss and bereavement.
Identifying the person’s strengths and resources and capitalize on them in encouraging them to continue to live productive lives as much as they are able to.
Referring the person for services that the counsellor or the health facility is unable to provide, such as financial, legal, education and other material support.
Promoting disclosure to identify a treatment assistant, prepare clients for ART and assist in treatment adherence (see section 0)
Promoting the formation of client support groups