HIV Competency

Description of Course

This module lays out important topics related to HIV, such as prevalence, transmission, prevention, the natural course of the disease, etc. While most of this module is general information, some sessions focus on emotional aspects of the disease, which are then integrated into a counselling framework. Information on HIV would be incomplete without an emphasis on sexuality and relationships, since sex is the most common mode of transmission in Africa. HIV counsellors must be comfortable discussing issues related to sex and sexuality. Condom usage is discussed, as well as how to negotiate the use of a condom in a relationship.

VCT is touched on, and counsellors are encouraged to incorporate client-centred counselling as a starting point, to be used in conjunction with VCT topics and protocols. Using the skills acquired during the previous modules, participants then apply them to the specific settings of HIV Counselling, Testing and follow up.

Counselling and PMTCT is also introduced and is focussed on the counsellor supporting the mother to make realistic choices about positive living, HIV and family planning. Infant feeding guidelines are given and various aspects of antenatal care are covered.

Adherence counselling is covered briefly. Basic counselling skills are applied in working with clients to support ways of managing HIV at different stages of the disease, and in particular working with clients once they start antiretroviral treatment, and working with those who return for follow-up visits to achieve and maintain optimal adherence.

When counselling clients in an HIV setting, it is important that the counsellor see themselves as part of an interdisciplinary team working with the client. Interacting with others, particularly nurses and doctors and VCT counsellors, is an integral part of the job of a counsellor in a clinic or attached to a VCT centre. Self care is encouraged through trainees learning to identify their own stress patterns and knowing how to alleviate stress and avoid burnout in this personally demanding work. Report writing is taught and role plays are utilised to practice counselling skills, using new information and additional skills throughout.


Topics Covered

    • Session 1: Course Introduction
    • Session 2: HIV & AIDS Definitions
    • Session 3: Transmission
    • Session 4: Prevention
    • Session 5: The Immune System & HIV
    • Session 6: The Natural Progression of HIV
    • Session 7: Community Myths and Beliefs
    • Session 8: What is VCT and why it is important
    • Session 9: Counselling Topics in VCT
    • Session 10: Role Plays: Pre-test Counselling & Post Test Counselling
    • Session 11: Condom and Femidom Demonstration
    • Session 12: Negotiating Condom Usage
    • Session 13: Mother to Child Transmission
    • Session 14: PMTCT Overview
    • Session 15: PMTCT and ART
    • Session 16: Infant Feeding Guidelines
    • Session 17: Antenatal care
    • Session 18: Personal Experience with Medication
    • Session 19: Adherence Factors (including benefits and limitations of ART)
    • Session 20: Living Positively and Managing side effects
    • Session 21: Working in an Interdisciplinary Team
    • Session 22: Self care
    • Session 23: Report Writing

HIV Competency


36 hours


    • Pre and Post Knowledge Test
    • Course Evaluation Form