REGULAR TRAINING FOR HIV CONSULTANTS
HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, is completely controllable if diagnosed in time, while many still associate HIV with AIDS and consider its diagnosis as a death sentence. In fact, AIDS is the final stage of HIV. Regular HIV testing can help detect and control it in a timely manner.
On February 24, 2021, the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia conducted a regular training for the consultants of HIV prevention projects implemented by New Generation Humanitarian NGO (NGNGO). The training is important by the fact that people working directly with the target groups, in this case outreach workers, strengthen their knowledge on HIV and AIDS and acquire relevant professional skills to conduct HIV testing among their own beneficiaries. This in turn provides an opportunity to make the testing more accessible to the groups the organization works with.
The training was divided into theoretical and practical parts. During the first part, Tigran Ugujyan, Head of the Department of Epidemiology, spoke about the situation of HIV/AIDS in Armenia, most-at-risk groups, the importance of HIV prevention and testing, the course of treatment. He also presented researches on sexually transmitted infections.
Marine Asryan, an employee of NCID continued the training. She spoke about outreach work, the basic principle, and skills of HIV counseling, as well as the specifics of counseling in case of different test answers.
During the second part of the day, NCID doctor Elena Silka introduced to the clinical course of HIV infection, the principles and goals of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. Then, together with Dr. Tamara Hovsepyan, the participants discovered the peculiarities of self-testing, learned the correct interpretation of the testing results, practiced testing, got acquainted with the work of the HIV diagnostic laboratory.
It should be noted that since August 2017, NGNGO beneficiaries have the opportunity to get free, anonymous and confidential testing for HIV through rapid tests – oral mucosal transudate. This means that the outreach workers trained as consultants can conduct testing both at the NGO office and in the beneficiary’s home, and other places where it is possible to provide the necessary conditions for the testing – temperature, lighting, privacy, etc.
You can see the video guide on the testing HERE.
HIV Prevention projects among MSM, trans* people and CSWs are implemented by New Generation Humanitarian NGO, financed by the Ministry of Health of Armenia from the funds of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, through the National Center for Infectious Diseases CJSC under MoH of the Republic of Armenia.