HIV testing of children is not simple for health providers and researchers: legal and policy frameworks guidance in South Africa

SOURCE: South African Medical Journal
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2016
TITLE AUTHOR(S): H.E.Van Rooyen, A.E.Strode, C.M.Slack
KEYWORDS: CHILDREN, HEALTH, HIV TESTING AND COUNSELLING (HTC), HIV/AIDS
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9234

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Abstract

Antiretroviral treatment coverage for children and adolescents is significantly lower than that for adults. A first step in improving this situation is ensuring increased access to HIV counselling and testing services. Current legal and policy frameworks outline four norms that should inform HIV testing of children in South Africa: limiting HIV testing to defined circumstances, and ensuring that consent is obtained, counselling is provided and confidentiality is maintained. Implementing these norms is not simple, and we discuss the challenges and opportunities they present for children, their families, health providers and researchers working in this area. Better alignment between evolving public health approaches and the HIV counselling and testing legal/policy frameworks (and the internal coherence of domestic frameworks) would better serve children, their parents and those who work with them.