Based in a bibliographical review, this paper discusses the literature produced between 1999 and 2011 in the field of Public Health over an important strategy of prevention of the transmission of HIV virus: the counseling and testing for HIV. The article critically analyzes the aspects highlighted by the literature, indicating divergences and convergences among the studies and identifying possible gaps that can stimulate new researches in this thematic field. The results of this work indicate a tendency of the literature in treating the processes of decision and the experience of taking a test under fragmented approaches at an individual or institutional level. To understand the many dimensions implied in the adoption of a preventive practice such as the HIV test, it's imperative contemplate social determinants such as gender, religion, sexual identity, race/ethnicity, and the intersection of these with individual factors or with those related to the public politics and operation of health services. The expressive use of the risk concept (group, behavior, perception) and of quantitative scales to measure the individual risk perception as a barrier for the test illustrates the focus on an individual and partial dimension of the problem.
Counseling; Testing; AIDS; HIV; Prevention