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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2011 Aug;25(8):483-91. doi: 10.1089/apc.2011.0085. Epub 2011 Jul 11.

Stressors and coping strategies for HIV-test counselors giving rapid HIV-test results: an exploratory qualitative study.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 27599-7435, USA. zkerr@email.unc.edu

Abstract

Stress has been extensively researched in the HIV services field. Yet, research regarding stress related to HIV-test counseling has solely focused on stressors related to giving results, even though stress on the HIV test counselor can occur at many points within a counseling session. This exploratory, qualitative study examines the stressors faced and coping mechanisms utilized by HIV-test counselors at AIDS service organizations (ASOs) during rapid HIV-test counseling sessions. Forty-two HIV test counselors were interviewed regarding HIV-test counseling sessions in which they provided preliminary-positive/reactive, negative/nonreactive, and invalid results. Regardless of the test result, HIV test counselors faced stressors, including giving HIV test results; dealing with emotions; difficult clients; self-doubt; and systemic stressors. Most stress was managed through social support, preparatory coping strategies, respite, and putting things into perspective. Despite the exploratory nature of the study, the findings suggest that strengthening support bases and improving current training standards will increase the well-being of HIV test counselors.

PMID:
21745119
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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