The social stigma of HIV/AIDS has contributed greatly to the explosion of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in recent years. Individuals who are reluctant or unable to take tests to find out their HIV status, or are unable to obtain the appropriate counseling, risk passing the AIDS-causing virus onto others. In light of this problem, MAUTAU was developed by the Kapeta Foundation to support government programs of HIV/AIDS prevention. The program enables individuals to receive counseling and have HIV tests conducted entirely anonymous.
The program follows a simple sequential, seven step process.
Step 1: Patient visit Mautau.com to create an account and schedule the pre-test counseling.
Step 2: Patient receive pre-counseling through a secure chat system, facilitated by a MAUTAU counselor. During this counseling, the patient is given information about HIV/AIDS, in particular about transmission risks. In order to print the Test form, patient must give informed consent after the counseling session is completed. If patient requires additional counseling, he/she is encouraged to go to the KAPETA Foundation or other VCT stations to receive face-to-face counseling.
Step 3: Patient takes a test form, which only contains the patient’s online username and ordered the tests, to the designated laboratory.
Step 4: The test results are delivered electronically to MAUTAU.
Step 5: Patient is notified that the site has received the results, but that the results will not be given until a follow-up counseling session is scheduled.
Step 6: Patient goes through the follow-up counseling session with the MAUTAU counselor.
Step 7: When patient is deemed ready to receive the results, he/she is told of their HIV status.
Should the test be negative, information will be given related to preventative measures. Should the test be positive, patient will receive information of how to avoid transmitting the disease, how antiretroviral treatments work, and where to receive additional support. Counselors also recommend HIV positive patients to undertake face-to-face counseling either at the Kapeta Foundation or other VCT offering clinic.
MAUTAU’s capacity to ensure anonymity of their patients makes it a promising tool for the dissemination of information about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and an important tool in ensuring that individuals requiring HIV testing and counseling receive the help that they require without the threat of social stigma and alienation.