The World Health Organisation reports that more than 90% of people who have HIV/AIDS do not know about it and many are even afraid to take the test. This is particularly true for those individuals who have been actively engaged in activities that are risk factors for HIV since there is still a social stigma associated with being an AIDS patient. Even in developed nations like the UK and in many developing countries, discrimination, social isolation and loss of basic rights might be experienced by those who have contracted AIDS (BBC, 2006).
Therefore counseling might be required before a test can be conducted and it must be shown to the patient why testing for HIV is beneficial for them and for their wellbeing. The procedures for the test must be explained to the patients and they should be told what treatments or options they have in case the test results are positive (Chippindale and French, 2001). While counseling before the test results arrive can be a short-lived matter, positive test results can demand a deeper connection to be formed between the patient and the medical service provider and can even cause the patient to seek professional mental health for the psychological management of the disease (BBC, 2006).
The need for professional help for handling the mental state of patients who have been tested positive for AIDS/HIV can not be overstated. Temoshok and Baum (1990) make it quite clear that there is a significant psychological aspect of handling this disease and due to the public focus and individual effect it has on a person.