According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV infection affects all dimensions of a person’s life: physical, psychological, social and spiritual. Counselling and social support can help people and their care givers cope more effectively with each stage of the infection and enhances quality of life. With adequate support, PLWHA are more likely to be able to respond adequately to the stress of being infected and are less likely to develop serious mental health problems. Assessment and interventions may be aimed at the acutely stressful phase following notification of HIV infection, the ensuing adjustment period, and the process of dealing with chronic symptomatic HIV infection and disease progression through to death.
HIV infection often can result in stigma and fear for those living with the infection, as well as for those caring for them, and may affect the entire family. Infection often results in loss of socio-economic status, employment, income, housing, health care and mobility. For both individuals and their partners and families, psychosocial support can assist people in making informed decisions, coping better with illness and dealing more effectively with discrimination. It improves the quality of their lives, and prevents further transmission of HIV infection. For people with HIV/AIDS who must adhere to TB treatment, long-term prophylaxis or antiretroviral therapy, on-going counselling can be critical in enhancing adherence to treatment regimens.
Basing on that background, Advocacy for women’s Health support initiative has adopted psychosocial therapy as a mechanism of giving support to positive clients that are tested HIV positive in communities. We have a team of social workers and counsellors that offer this kind of service to our clients.
Through using a holistic approach, we have given linkages of new positive clients to medical facilities for proper assessment by professional health workers that have given our clients psychosocial therapy. Through working with different partners like Baylor Uganda, we have been able to set up drop in Centres that act as first linkages to our clients, these Centres have a DIC nurse that is responsible for giving psychosocial therapy to our clients.