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Global health
SP4-18 A need assessment study of HIV voluntary counselling and testing services in Bangladesh
  1. S S Chowdhury,
  2. U Kulsum,
  3. S H Talukder
  1. Eminence, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Abstract

Backgrounds VCT is considered as an entry point for prevention and care and is acknowledged internationally as an effective strategy for both HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Bangladesh currently has 102 VCT centres. This study was aimed to identify the status of existing VCT services, analyse the policy documents and identify the needs perceived by the service recipients.

Methods 30 in depth interviews with key informants (eg, GoB, NAC, UNAIDS, WHO, INGOs) and 24 focus group discussion (FGDs) with 120 males and 97 females were conducted. The respondents include sex workers (M&F), MSMs, transgender, PLWHIV, migrant workers and youth.

Results Existing VCT services are rather peer driven than voluntary. Neither the policy documents nor the existing intervention takes into account the needs of street children, underaged sex workers, adolescents and youth, leading to unequal VCT service coverage. Stigma and discrimination is the main reason for not seeking services. National policy or existing VCT guidelines do not suggest any unique mechanism for demand creating campaign.

Conclusions Policy reformulation and separate SOP for VCT is needed immediately. Streamlining of VCT services under government ownership can be an initiative for enhancing the service delivery regime. Health providers with excellent counselling skills are required in large numbers.

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