Lay counsellor-based risk reduction intervention with HIV positive diagnosed patients at public HIV counselling and testing sites in Mpumalanga, South Africa*
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Objective: To evaluate the feasibility, fidelity, and effect of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk reduction intervention delivered to HIV-infected patients by lay counsellors during routine HIV counselling and testing (HCT) public service in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Methods: A total of 488 HIV infected patients, aged 18 years and older, receiving HCT service at clinics in Mpumalanga, received an "Options for Health" intervention delivered by clinic lay counsellors. Intervention lay counsellors
implemented a brief risk reduction intervention at on average 2.3 sessions to help patients reduce their unprotected sexual behaviour. Questionnaires were administered at baseline and 4 months following the intervention to assess HIV risk behaviour in previous 3 months. Results: A significant increase in AIDS knowledge, behavioural intentions and risk reduction efficacy among participants at follow-up was found. Participants at 4-month follow-up reported a significant reduction of multiple partners,
unprotected sex, alcohol or drug use in a sexual context, and transactional sex. In addition, sexual abstinence increased and alcohol use decreased, in the past 3 months. Conclusions: A lay counsellor delivered HIV prevention intervention targeting HIV-infected patients seems to be feasible to implement with fidelity in the South African HCT setting and promising at reducing risk behaviour.
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