Knowledge is power: Voluntary HIV counselling and testing in Uganda
The effect of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Uganda has been severe. In the late 80s, Uganda had the highest rates of HIV infection in the world. Yet, it had few HIV testing services with counselling programmes. As a result, the AIDS Information Centre (AIC) was established to provide anonymous, voluntary and confidential HIV testing and counselling services. It operates under the premise that knowing one’s serostatus is an important intervention in controlling HIV infection. This report documents the history of the AIC, its progress, and the demographic characteristics and HIV rates of its clients. It records AIC’s HIV counselling and testing procedures, and its effect on risk reduction. Complementary integrated services such as family planning, STI management and education and referral for TB are also discussed, in addition to AIC’s various efforts to reach out to the community through drama groups, peer educators and social marketers.