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Karnataka: HIV Counsellors boycott screening test

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Counsellors boycott screening test

Tuesday January 22 2008 11:24 IST, Express News Service

MANGALORE: Over 450 counsellors from seven districts attached to

Integrated Clinical Testing Centre (ICTC) opposed the grading system

by boycotting a screening test held in Roshini Nilaya School of

Social Work on Monday.

Tests conducted in other centres including Gulburga, Bellary and

Bangalore by National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) and Aids

Prevention Society of India (APSI) were also boycotted, sources told

this website's newspaper.

The counsellors appearing in the test would receive grades `A'

`B',`C', based on their performance in the test. The counsellors

charged that the test was actually a ploy to retain a few and

eliminate most of the counsellors appointed by them.

" When we have already been appointed based on the qualifications,

what is the need of such a test?, " the candidates asked.

Raising slogans against APSI and NACO, the counsellors demanded the

withdrawal of the test.

The counsellors from Mandya, Channarayapatna, Shimoga, Chitradurga,

Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts also charged that

counselling centres set up in state lacked infrastructure. They also

denounced the practice of setting targets of HIV patients.

" Asking us to meet the target on number of patients counselled every

month is not practical and unethical, " they stressed


ID=IEK20080122010302 & Page=K & Title=Southern+News+-+Karnataka & Topic=0

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Karnataka: HIV Counsellors boycott screening test

Re: /message/8357

It is ashame on the part of social workers to hesitate for upgrading their


What is INP PLUS is doing about this?

Why no body on this FORUM are responding? I will suggest KSAPS to terminate all

the COUNSELORS who are not willing to take the test and appoint new ones

HOPE KSAPA will do the same.


e-mail: <arunmeenanpsi@...>

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Re: /message/8357

The Maharashtra counsellors also boycotted the test. But I do not agree that

they should all be terminated. Some of them have worked for more that five years

and they are quite good as counsellors. A test cannot be the only determinant in

such cases. Nor can targets help establish the caliber of the counsellors. We

have fought against `targets' as an indicator of sucess in government programmes

for years!

Actually the guidelines for ICTC appeared in July 2007, and I am not sure if

NACO went through a participatory process of information dissemination regarding

these guidelines. I really feel the process and the targets are problematic.

also anyone who is good in english will do well in the test and Counsellors from

rural areas will fare much worse than their urban counterparts.

I do not think the counsellors do not want upgraded skills. That is not the

reason for them not giving the exams. Some of them are arrogant and incompetant.

So, we need a better monitoring procedure for counsellors/ care providers. Just

a simple test and a target are not the answer.

Spot checks, exit patient poll, even role play would be a more effective

indicator. Whatever NACO decides it should be participatory. After all, the

counsellors know they are contract workers so they are vulnerable.

Meena Saraswathi Seshu


e-mail: <sangram.vamp@...>

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Dear all,

Re: /message/8357

I am responding only to the context of this email.

In view of the need to facilitate autonomy of individual decision making

processes of HIV testing, as opposed to Mandatory testing, it seem to be absurd

to actually officially call for Counsellors to take the HIV screening test. This

is the opportunity for appropriate Counselling rather than ordering someone.

Especially in view of the fact that one time Serologic testing is based on the

identification of HIV specific antibodies to single or multiple antigens. It

does not take into consideration the window period and / or False positives and

negatives. It also does not take into considerations of the occurence of

subsequent Hgh Risk Behaviours. Counsellors are not immune, especially in the

context of those who may have a background of addictive living.

Doesn't this scenario remind one of the utterly meaningless political agenda

currently being exercised in the country in various states about the issue of

pre marital mandatory testing? I am apalled at the 'lack of information based

political expediency'. One cant but feel that the politicians who are promoting

this issue are truely clueless and shameless. In Maharashtra, I read from the

newspaper reports that a Consultative team of Docotrs is available to the

political group. I am even more concerned at who is more uninformed-the

politicians or the docotrs. This issue needs to be taken directly to the Prime

Minister who is supposed to be the head of the national political concern group

with regards to the HIV epidemic in India.

I am literally waiting with bated breath to see how many more such acts of

stupidity will occur before we as a nation also start experiencing some of the

tragedy that many sub-Saharan African countries went through.


Dr M.Shashi Menon.


Kripa Foundation.


e-mail: <msmenon@...>

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Dear Forum

I feel the Forum should take initiative in couselor's counseling to appear for

the test. This is an opportunity for self evaluation and self upgradation.

Person will read before appearing for the examination or NACO should give us the

evaluation format, we as ICTC incharge will fill it up before renewing their


Some sort of screeing mech is required. As for we lecturers or prof. reasearch

publication are essential for promotion. simillar mechanism can be developed for

them as well. This will encourage them to keep them updated.

Dr Deepti Dongaonkar

e-mail: <ddongaonkar@...>

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Re: /message/8357

One has to be too judgemental to give such comments on counsellors boycott for

the test without understanding the situation in the state.

We have 600+ counsellors working in the ICTCs in Karnataka. How many counsellors

are we going to terminate? Do people have an idea about the whole recruitment

and training process in appointing new counsellors. Is that the solution for the


It is the responsibility of KSAPS to provide proper information to the

counsellors and lab technicians before implementing this test.

Adequate information was not provided to the counsellors and they were intimated

ONLY 2 days before the test was implemented. Though it was not right from their

part to boycott the test, i appreciate that for the first time they came

together collectively to demand for their needs.

While we talk about counsellors not willing to upgrade their iknowledge and

skills by undergoing this evaluation test, does anyone talk about KSAPS's

inability to provide proper infrastructure and basic facilities to these

counsellors to function at the ICTCs?

Jyothi Cardoza

E-MAIL: <c_jyothi78@...>

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