On November 11, 2023, a couple’s workshop on HIV/AIDS awareness and counselling was held at Blantyre lodge in Blantyre District. MASYAP invited facilitators from John Hopkins. The workshop was attended by 20 couples and 2 facilitators and a Sheikh. The objective of the workshop was to educate married couples on the modes of transmission and preventive measures of HIV/AIDS.
Globally, Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) counselling and testing (HCT) is a key intervention for HIV prevention and a critical approach for life-sustaining treatment and care programs. For the past years, different methods of HIV counselling and testing have been applied, including provider-initiated testing and counselling as part of medical care, and client-initiated or voluntary testing and counselling (VCT). High quality counselling and testing is vital to reducing the HIV epidemic. There is increasing evidence that counselling and testing reduces reported risk behavior and prevents new infections. Counselling and testing uses short, client-centered counselling that can be effective in increasing condom use and preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It is common knowledge that the ever-changing needs in HIV prevention, care and treatment, many service providers developed different curricula and trained counsellors in varied contents and training period in the areas of antiretroviral therapy (ART), prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), home based counselling and testing, basic preventative care, routine counselling and testing (RCT) in clinical settings, and prevention with positives (PWP) counselling.
The workshop also included several activities, such as role-playing exercises and group discussions. The participants were encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences with each other. The majority of the participants were young couples. This is a very good outcome as they learnt and share experiences with the elderly couples.
The workshop was successful in achieving its objectives. The participants gained a better understanding of the modes of transmission and preventive measures of HIV/AIDS. They also learned about the importance of communication and mutual support in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.