Since 2011, RICH has specifically collaborated with the Ministry of Health through RBC in finding response to HIV/AIDS by coordinating interventions of Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) in HIV response. It is in that line that a Training of Trainers (ToTs) of 90 Religious Leaders from all over the country was organized in order to engage, equip and increase their skills in coaching and training their fellows and the community in general on the Couples HIV testing and counselling(CHTC)approach, especially its prevention aspect.
The trained religious leaders were made of both men and women working with health and family departments within their confessional groups. They will play the role of communicating the advantages of HIV Counselling and Testing for couples during pre and post-martial counselling sessions. Voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT) programs are an effective and feasible approach for increasing serostatus awareness and decreasing high-risk behavior.
Couples HIV testing and counseling (CHTC) enables both partners to test, share their results and formulate risk-reduction plans based on their couple-level serostatus. It also facilitates disclosure of sensitive information within relationships and effectively targets couples, jointly address issues related to HIV transmission and family planning, and increase interventions to reduce mother-to-child transmission and a lower risk of HIV infection in infants born to HIV-positive mothers, one of the most critical prevention points.
Objectives of ToTs on couples’ HIV testing and counseling
The objectives of the training were to prepare the 90 Religious Leaders from all over the country to:
- Provide clear and accurate HIV prevention messages tailored to the couples.
- Dispell myths about HIV transmission and discordance.
- Conduct family awareness campaigns and HTC activities in collaboration with local health centers.
- Facilitate linkages of couples to health facilities for couples.
The trained religious leaders committed to sensitize members on adherence to HIV treatment contrary to false teachings of faith healing only.
At the end of the training, Each participating denomination developed action plans regarding the work that they are committed to do after training for disseminating in the community the knowledge they were provided during this training. This training took place in Muhanga district, at Lumina-Kabgayi Hotel from 26th to 29th June 2018.