BosasnetIn continuing to recognise March as Month of Youth Against AIDS (MYAA), this week BOSASNet looks at the importance of counselling amongst couples while in recovery from substance abuse or dependency.

Often couples come to BOSASNet for support for substance abuse or substance dependency.

As part of a holistic approach to addressing their substance use, all clients are encouraged to go for HIV testing.

This is because substance abuse has been identified as one of the key drivers of HIV transmission.

This approach has often been proven to be conducive to a more sustainable recovery process.
Couples counselling is a dialogue between a counsellor and individuals in a pre-sexual or sexual relationship.

It is recognized as an important and effective intervention in which the two individuals are counselled and provided with HIV test results as a couple.

This encourages the couple to plan for their future and discuss a realistic risk reduction plan that they can implement together.

Implementation of such a plan can often be futile if either of the couple is still abusing substances, thus the importance of abstinence or reduction from all mood altering substances.

Types of couple seeking CHCT services include pre-sexual, dating, engaged, married, cohabiting, reuniting, or couples intending to have children.

• It is ideal for both partners to learn their HIV test results together. It is fairly common for couples to be discordant.

Transmission risk is the highest in discordant relationships when they do not adopt safer sex practices as they are not protected by just being faithful.

Sometimes a couple becomes discordant due to outside partners or other exposures to HIV.

• CHCT services enhance opportunities to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV.

• Couple testing provides an opportunity to reduce tension and blame by normalizing feelings, reactions and experiences together with the help of the counsellor.

• Couples get a chance to concentrate on the solutions and rather than on problems.

• CHCT encourages couples to focus on the present and the future and does not dwell on the past.

BOSASNet refers clients to appropriate service providers for HIV and AIDS counselling and testing such as Tebelopele and BOFWA.

For information on where to seek Couples HIV and AIDS Counselling and Testing (CHCT) you can call Tebelopele on 391 4023 or BOFWA on 390 0489.

Individuals wishing to get more information on issues related to substance abuse can contact BOSASNet and speak to a counsellor in confidence, on 395-9119 or 72659891.

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