PREVENTION OF EPIDEMICS. TRAINING SESSIONS ON CONSULTATION ABOUT HIV AND COVID-19
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 to detect and control it in a timely manner.
On December 7 and 8 , 2021, the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia (NCID) 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 key populations, 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.
During the first part of the training, Tigran Ugujyan, the Head of the Department of Epidemiology of NCID, spoke about the HIV and AIDS situation 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.
NCID employee Marine Asryan,continued the training speaking about outreach work, the basic principles, and skills of HIV counseling, as well as the specifics of counseling in case of different test results.
Then NCID doctor Elena Silka introduced to the participants clinical course of HIV infection, the principles and goals of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. After the introuduction the participants practiced testing, got acquainted with the work of the HIV diagnostic laboratory. Then, together with Dr. Tamara Hovsepyan, the participants discovered the peculiarities of self-testing, learned the correct interpretation of the testing results.
During the second part of the day Romella Abovyan, the Head of the Infectious and Non-Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Department of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control of the Ministry of Health of Armenia, introduced to the participants the coronavirus disease, spoke about its consequences, as well as the need for vaccination.
Dermatologist-venereologist Hovhannes Dallakyan concluded the training providing participants with basic knowledge about sexually transmitted infections, so that the trained outreach workers show more professional approach in the consultations and during the testing process of the beneficiaries.
Reminder: since August 2017, the beneficiaries of the NGNGO already have the opportunity to undergo HIV testing for free, confidentially and anonymously through rapid oral mucosal transudate tests. This implies that a trained outreach worker as a consultant can conduct the testing both in the NGO office and in the beneficiary’s home as well as in any other places where it is possible to provide the necessary conditions for conducting the testing: temperature, lighting, confidentiality, etc.
You can see the video guide on HIV testing HERE.
HIV Prevention in Armenia project is implemented by New Generation Humanitarian NGO with financial support of the RA Ministry of Health from the funds of The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through the National Center for Infectious Diseases CJSC of the RA Ministry of Health.