In Practice

HIV testing of children is not simple for health providers and researchers: Legal and policy frameworks guidance in South Africa

Heidi Eve van Rooyen, Ann E Strode, Catherine M Slack

Abstract


Antiretroviral treatment coverage for children and adolescents is significantly lower than that for adults. A first step in improving this situation is ensuring increased access to HIV counselling and testing services. Current legal and policy frameworks outline four norms that should inform HIV testing of children in South Africa: limiting HIV testing to defined circumstances, and ensuring that consent is obtained, counselling is provided and confidentiality is maintained. Implementing these norms is not simple. We discuss the challenges and opportunities these norms present for children, their families, health providers and researchers working in this area. Better alignment between evolving public health approaches and the HIV counselling and testing legal/policy frameworks (and the internal coherence of domestic frameworks) would better serve children, their parents and those who work with them.


Authors' affiliations

Heidi Eve van Rooyen, Human and Social Development Programme, Human Sciences Research Council, Durban, South Africa

Ann E Strode, HIV/AIDS Vaccines Ethics Group (HAVEG), School of Applied Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Catherine M Slack, HIV/AIDS Vaccines Ethics Group (HAVEG), School of Applied Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Full Text

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Keywords

HIV testing; Children; Legal framework; Policy framework

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(5):451-453. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i5.10484

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-12-18
Date published: 2016-03-30

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