PRESS RELEASE:-The rapid testing of HIV and syphilis will assist in early diagnosis and treatment, and help to prevent the transmission.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness is hosting a rapid testing training workshop on rapid HIV and syphilis testing.
The workshop includes participants from the Ministry of Health, non-government organizations, and civil society organizations, who will become certified trainers, capable of expanding local capacity in the rapid testing of HIV and syphilis.
This will assist in the early diagnosis and treatment of individuals, particularly in pregnant women, and help to prevent the transmission of HIV and syphilis to their babies.
The importance of rapid testing for HIV and syphilis is to reach the most vulnerable groups in society and to equip them with the tools needed to mitigate the spread of these diseases to others.
The rapid testing training workshop is as a result of a grant that aims to strengthen AIDS programs in the OECS.
The social and economic impacts of HIV/AIDS in affected countries remain a cause for concern, as stigma and discrimination, the inability of countries to scale-up quality prevention programs, the poor involvement of key populations in the HIV response, as well as the need for more supportive HIV policies, continue to hinder progress within the region.
Realizing this need, the Regional Coordinating Mechanism works to strengthen the National AIDS Programs in the islands of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), with the ultimate goal of eliminating HIV, STIs and TB by 2030. The Regional Coordinating Mechanism therefore successfully negotiated a grant from the Global Fund to assist in furthering its objectives in capacity building of OECS states—Saint Lucia, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Commonwealth of Dominica.
In Jan. 2017 representatives from Saint Lucia participated in an HIV and syphilis ‘training of trainers’ workshop for rapid tests. The training was the first of a two-phased approach under the OECS Multi-Country Global Fund Grant, intended to develop local capacity in rapid testing and equip countries to support further in-country trainings. The second phase required an assessment of the country team’s ability to conduct an in-country HIV and syphilis rapid testing training workshop.
The workshop is currently being held at the Palm Haven Hotel. Training commenced on May 16 and will run until May 19.
The facilitators of the training are Valerie Wilson and Arlene Darmanie, representatives from the Caribbean Med Labs Foundation (CMLF) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) respectively. They will be assessing the capacity of the trainers.
The Ministry of Health looks forward to the expansion of rapid testing services to the public, and reminds the public to continue practicing the ABC’s of STI prevention:
A – abstain
B – be faithful (for those who choose not to abstain, we remind them to be faithful and have one partner)
C – condomize (use a latex condom every time you have sexual intercourse)
D – do the test (take an HIV or syphilis test. Find out your status so that you can take care of yourself and protect others.)