Many resources are available to add to your knowledge in pre- and post-test HIV discussion. As with many things, a mixture of theory, supervised discussion and practice is the best way to become proficient in these skills. My best advice is to always remain open-minded about the patient's response to the result you are giving and never assume a particular reaction to a result. That way you will hopefully never be caught off guard, and your response, whether verbal or non-verbal, will hopefully never be inappropriate.

The other thing I would like to stress is, that there is no easy way of breaking bad news. Many of us still find the process difficult, even after years of giving positive and negative HIV results, especially when dealing with certain groups in which the result is unexpected, such as with a very young person. Always discuss the process, if it is difficult, as soon as possible with your supervisor or a work colleague.

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