Spent another weekend Volunteering
Yesterday, the training was all about Basic Counseling and HIV counseling. It was a productive one, as I would believe I got a lot from the more than 8-hour discussion. We were taught the basic concepts of counseling, what we should and should not do while counseling, how different is an HIV counselor from a basic one.
We were also taught of the protocols and the things we need to do if in case the counseled turns out to be HIV positive..
It was a lot of information but the facilitator
the lone woman in the photo above, handled it well. I am not a Psych major nor is my course and job related to it, but I felt that I was provided with the adequate tools to be able to become an HIV counselor.
We still need to finish two more trainings – Group facilitation and the Technical training, hopefully in the next two weekends.
Oh, by the way, the guy who I flirted with is also in the photo. He’s the one wearing plaid shirt beside the facilitator.
These tests would yield to either of the two results:
REACTIVE – That means HIV antibodies are found in your blood, therefore you are HIV Positive
NON REACTIVE – no HIV antibodies, therefore, you do not have the virus
What if the result is Reactive?
Initial reaction would always be shock, and generally, the client (person who had himself tested) would think negative thoughts about it. Our duty as counselors is to change that mindset. HIV does not mean that it is the end of the world. It simply means that you are infected with a virus and it needs to be treated and managed so that it would not cause you more harm. Remember that the virus attacks the immune system, and the only way to counter that is by taking care of yourself.
It is important that we tell the clients about this, that we would not let them leave without making sure that they are okay. After all, the government also provides free antiretroviral drugs for People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
I remember the facilitator telling us that if the client tested positive, we should always ensure that we let them realize that NOTHING CHANGES. You just have a virus, but everything about you is still the same. If you are an accountant, after the test, you still are one
If you are an evil person, after taking the test, you still are one. So you see, having the virus shouldn’t be much of a concern. You just have to ensure that you take good care of yourself and take all measures necessary so as not to spread it.
What if the person is Non-Reactive?
This simply means you do not have the virus.
Of course, this is not supposed to mean that he should celebrate and fuck the first person he sees after taking the test. As counselors, our job is to help the client understand the importance of maintaining that negative status. We should also tell them to avoid risky behaviors and practice safe sex (always).
And How Am I Feeling?
Honestly, I am scared. I wouldn’t know how to react if I have a client that tests positive. But since I am backed by this great training, I would just have to take into heart everything that we learned yesterday.
We can actually do counseling even to our friends, imagine that! Haha! Couldn’t wait to try this new skill!!!