Implementation of Couples' Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing Services in Durban, South Africa, for HIV Prevention and Intervention

Heterosexual couples represent the largest HIV risk group in sub-Saharan Africa. Couples' Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing (CVCT) is an effective HIV prevention strategy because it:

  • decreases annual transmission rates by an estimated two-thirds in couples where one partner is HIV-positive;
  • reduces the incidence of new infections in HIV-negative couples; and,
  • reduces sexually transmitted infection rates and unplanned pregnancies for all couples.

However, little information is available in many sub-Saharan African countries regarding the sero status of couples (the presence or absence of particular antibodies in their blood), couples' knowledge of CVCT, and couples' understanding of issues affecting HIV transmission. There is a high prevalence of couple HIV sero discordance in Durban, South Africa, where one partner is HIV-positive and the other is negative. Still, the city severely lacks services offering CVCT. There is also a shortage of service providers trained to offer CVCT. The problem is further compounded by a lack of knowledge about the perceptions of CVCT among couples in the community.

Through this project, the Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group will apply more than 20 years of experience in the field of CVCT to provide support, training, and technical assistance to pilot the expansion of CVCT in local hospital-based clinics in Durban and conduct sociological surveys. These studies will assess couples' knowledge of CVCT, their understanding of HIV transmission, and the effectiveness of CVCT knowledge transfer to couples' partners.

The funding will provide training for local clinic counselors in CVCT intervention, data collection, and laboratory guidelines. It will also ensure that local community health volunteers are equipped to recruit couples to attend CVCT at pilot clinics.

Project ID

107017

Project status

Closed

Start Date

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

End Date

Monday, July 8, 2013

Duration

6 months

IDRC Officer

Cohen, Marc

Total funding

CA$ 54,175

Countries

South Africa, South of Sahara, Rwanda, Zambia

Program

Maternal and Child Health

Project Leader

William Kilembe

Institution

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website

http://www.ukzn.ac.za