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HIV testing kits
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TOPIC: HIV testing kits

HIV testing kits 5 years, 7 months ago #2

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Dear Yezingane

will you please help me find out if it is legal to sell the HIV testing kits to the public in a pharmacy with no counseling?please help in our area we have a pharmacy that is doing that,and my concern is what will happen to the people who test without counseling.

please help
Realise(RADAR)

Re: HIV testing kits 5 years, 7 months ago #3

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Dear Mark and Ray

I trust this finds you well.

We have been approached by a Network member with the query below, please can you assist us to determine if this selling of HIV testing kits in pharmacies is legal. What are the legal aspects of this as surely self-testing is without the necessary counselling and support and referral that goes with testing in controlled environments.

Thank you

Hema Somai
On Behalf of Yezingane Network Secretariat
Coordinating Civil Society Action on Children, HIV and AIDS

Re: HIV testing kits 5 years, 7 months ago #4

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Dear Hema



By now, you may have heard from Mark on this, but here's my take. You need to know that I'm not a lawyer, so my reply mainly reflects my training as a psychologist.



To my knowledge, although pharmacies that provide testing (i.e. have staff actually carrying out the test) have to provide some sort of counselling, it is not illegal for pharmacies to sell home HIV testing kits without providing any counselling. It could be argued that people have a right to access testing in a manner they deem fit. It would also be important to acknowledge that, in some areas, even if a pharmacy wished to provide counselling along with the kits, there might not be the resources available to do so. People would then be restricted to using local public or private healthcare services, which, for various reasons (including stigma), they may be reluctant to do.



As a psychologist, I believe that offering counselling is always important. Many people who seek testing or who are offered testing in terms of the PICT approach, or in response to HCT campaigns, will not have thought through the implications of a possible positive test result and may not have the support resources available to help them deal with a positive result. Even although the quality of counselling in many settings (including pharmacies) may be questionable, engaging in counselling may raise issues for the person that they would not otherwise have considered, helping them to be better prepared for the result and, if positive, for accepting the result, seeking support and engaging positively with healthcare appropriate at the time.



I would suggest that your enquirer approaches the pharmacy concerned to find out whether they are at least offering purchasers of kits information about where to access help e.g. a local NGO or clinic that provides counselling, national helpline numbers. To avoid a situation where untrained staff inappropriately engage in discussions with customers, the information could be in the form of a printed slip of paper that is given to anyone purchasing a kit.



Hope this helps.


Ray Lazarus

Re: HIV testing kits 5 years, 7 months ago #5

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Dear Ray

You bring forward alot of important issues, do you mind if I post your feedback to the Yezingane Network elist-I’ve been sharing other members responses and it’s an issue that is important that we need to discuss and come to some kind of consensus.

Thank you,

Hema Somai
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