Getting in the Door: Home-Based HIV Testing and Counseling (HBHTC) Programs in Kenya

Inside a modest two-room home in Kibera, the vast Nairobi slum, Bethryn1 and her 12-year-old daughter Alice sit on a second-hand sofa neatly adorned with white doilies. Sitting opposite them is Felix, an HIV counselor, who was brought to the home by a community health worker. Felix has a particularly delicate mission today: to provide Alice with counseling and a rapid HIV test to see if her mother’s HIV infection was transmitted to her in the womb or during birth. Felix, well aware of how voices travel between dwellings in this cramped neighborhood, speaks very softly to Alice, asking her about school and what she knows about HIV. He explains why he has come and what the test will be like. Despite his gentle approach, the girl is clearly frightened, and her worried mother cannot keep her eyes from filling with tears. This is among the more difficult assignments Felix has encountered as an HIV counselor who tests people for HIV in their homes.




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