- 'What mother wouldn't want to save her baby?' HIV testing and counselling practices in a rural Ugandan antenatal clinic
- Culture, Health & Sexuality
- Volume | Issue number
- 15 | S4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Drawing on an exploratory qualitative case study investigating everyday practices within an antenatal clinic in rural Uganda, this paper investigates the dynamics of consent and counselling within a prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programme, from the perspectives of various health professionals involved at different stages of the PMTCT trajectory. The paper contributes to the existing literature by focusing not on clients' views but, rather, by elucidating how different cadres of health workers view and practice the human rights principles of informed consent and opting out, that are reflected in Uganda's HIV testing policies. By investigating the roles and responsibilities of community counsellors, post-test counsellors, and midwives, we illustrate how the practice of counselling in PMTCT is influenced by two hegemonic discourses: the health of a child should be protected, and the health worker knows best. As a result, a directive form of counselling in PMTCT settings, with its focus on the health of the baby, silences women's right to opt out of HIV tests.
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