Voluntary Counselling and Testing for HIV
AMS is accredited by the Ministry of Health Uganda to carry out voluntary counselling and testing for HIV free of charge. AMS tests over 600 new clients every month, linking an average of 96 new HIV-positive clients to quality, comprehensive care. Full clinical tests are administered on a six-month basis, providing ongoing monitoring of patients’ clinical condition and response to first-line treatment. From January to July of 2017 alone, AMS reached 14,565 patients with general care and conducted 69,825 laboratory tests.
Voluntary counselling and testing is a linchpin between prevention, treatment, care, and support. These services – which are entirely confidential – are available from Monday to Saturday, 8 to 6. Clients are welcome to walk in for testing services without an appointment.
Clinical Care and HIV Treatment
AMS serves children and adults, offering in-patient and out-patient care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. HIV positive patients receive all care free of charge, including the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis, skin disorders, and malaria. AMS provides differentiated services for patients: we have a youth wing with specific youth- and adolescent-friendly services, for example, which helps young people feel at ease and in effect, increases their retention rates. We also have specific days for key populations, along with mothers, pregnant women, and infants.
To ensure we are reaching the most vulnerable, AMS conducts community outreaches and home-based care visits every week. We also establish satellite outreaches in particularly disadvantaged communities, where we target children living on the street and sex workers. Nearly 1,000 of our patients receive complementary transportation, allowing them to get the care they need regardless of financial restrictions or physical immobility.
When necessary, AMS provides transport for critically ill clients to the National Referral Hospital, which is equipped with an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for severe cases.
AMS’ counselling department has a robust strategy in place to ensure clients are adhering to their medication and receiving the support they require. AMS offers individual pre- and post-test counselling, adherence counselling, couples counselling, crisis counselling, and more, all with the assistance of community health workers and peer educators.
With help from AMS’ community health workers and peer educators, the counselling department follows up with patients who miss their appointments at one week, one month and three month intervals.
Additionally, the Counselling Department works with the psychosocial support groups to strengthen peer networks, help clients connect with one another, and train clients on income-generating activities to improve their lives.
Every day, our staff give daily health talks to clients waiting in our queue. Staff cover a broad range of topics, including nutrition, adherence, family planning and beyond.