This study, conducted in two districts in Uganda, sought to examine the process whereby individuals seek HIV testing, how they are counselled, and the patterns of disclosure of test results to family and friends. The research focused on the experience of respondents?all clients at VCT sites?to understand their concerns about testing, counselling and disclosure. The overall purpose of the study was to provide information useful to the Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD) for designing interventions to make HIV/AIDS prevention programmes more effective. The study was conducted by UPHOLD with technical assistance from Macro International and was financed through a contract between John Snow Inc. (JSI) and Macro International.
HIV prevention programmes promote HIV testing and counselling so that individuals learn their sero-status and can change their behaviour to protect themselves against HIV infection. Disclosure to others is essential in order to garner support for reducing the risk of HIV infection and for accessing social and medical services. Although most programmes focus on individual behaviour and ways to change it, this study used a different strategy. By focusing on the social context of the experiences of VCT clients, the research shows how social interactions affected both the process of coming for an HIV test and the process of disclosing test results to others. With this approach it was possible to identify the kinds of counselling and social support most needed by VCT clients to share their test results with others and access social and medical services.