Addressing the psychological needs of HIV-infected individuals is an integral part of comprehensive care. Prayas through its counseling center has been providing psychological support to HIV infected and affected individuals. The counseling services are provided free of cost.
Reader-friendly take-home educational material developed by Prayas, addressing various issues of HIV care, is also available to support counseling.
Apart from standard pre-test, post-test, crisis counseling; the counselors have taken important initiatives in helping parents disclose HIV status to their children, helping HIV infected adolescents to cope with life, helping HIV infected persons find life partners, create informal support groups, create support for income generating activities etc.
Following issues are addressed through our counseling center
- Pre and Post HIV Test Counseling - For all those who want to get themselves tested for HIV/ AIDS pre and post test counseling is provided. Prevention related counseling is provided to all (HIV infected as well as uninfected) individuals.
Educational material available - ‘HIV/AIDS Vishayee He Aplyala Mahit Have’ and ‘Prashna aapla Uttar aaple’
- HIV care Counseling - HIV infected people need continuous support to cope with various issues not only in the initial period of crisis (at diagnosis) but also during follow-up process as the disease progresses. Counseling is provided at all levels to address issues regarding coping with the diagnosis, disclosure to others, partner and child testing, regularity in CD4 monitoring and clinical follow-ups, diet, exercise, initiation of ART and adherence, safe sex practices and so on.
Educational material available - ‘Aushadh Suru Kartana’
- Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) - HIV is a disease which primarily affects individuals in reproductive age. Decisions related to marriage, use of contraception, planning pregnancy and safer sexual behavior are complex. Counseling is provided so that HIV-infected individuals can lead healthy sexual and reproductive lives.
- PMTCT Counseling (Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission) - Counseling is provided to HIV-infected pregnant women regarding various aspects of mother-to-child transmission and its prevention.
Educational material available - ‘Aai Hotana’ and ‘Tarisuddha Aai Hotana’
Special issues in HIV Counseling
- Disclosure to HIV-infected children - With increasing access to ART, HIV-infected children are surviving longer and reaching adolescence and adulthood. Disclosing HIV-infection to these children is an issue which requires sensitive handling. Prayas has developed expertise regarding pediatric disclosure.
Educational material available - ‘Dhusar…Blur’ – a film about the issue of disclosure and ‘Doctor Kakankade Gelyawar’
- Growing-up concerns of HIV-infected adolescents - Adolescents with HIV have special concerns regarding growing up not only about health, but also about relationships, marriage, career and so on. As a recent initiative, we are developing appropriate strategies to support these children.
One such initiative is formation of an informal group called ‘So What’ (Adolescent HIV Program) by HIV-infected adolescents coming to Prayas.
- Positive parenting - Raising HIV-infected children is a challenge and many parents have concerns regarding health of the child, disclosure, guilt of transmission, securing the future of the child. There is often lack of communication between parents and children regarding disclosure of HIV status, need for long-term medication and impact of disease. Prayas has initiated a process of discussing these concerns with parents.
- Positive Marriages - Decision to get married is complex and requires thorough consideration of several issues. Through the counseling center, we facilitate these processes for those who seek support to find a partner.