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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Archival Content: 1999-2005

Training Doing the Work

What is HIV counseling, testing, and referral (CTR)?

HIV counseling, testing, and referral (CTR) is one strategy used to increase the number of people who know their HIV status. CTR is a group of activities that help people learn their infection status, encourage and support risk reduction, and provide referrals for medical, prevention, and partner counseling and referral services. CTR services are delivered in various ways and in various settings, but they all include five basic elements:

  • Informing clients about HIV transmission routes, the HIV antibody testing process, and the meaning of a positive or negative test result;
  • Providing client-centered counseling to help people become aware of the value of testing, recognize their risks of HIV, and learn how to reduce those risks;
  • Testing clients with the best available method;
  • Following all standards and procedures if using the rapid HIV test; and
  • Discussing additional services the client may need and providing referrals to meet those needs.

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