Regional HIV/AIDS Workshop August 22-27

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Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner??

Over 120 delegates are expected to be in Barbados for the 2nd Joint meeting of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network; the Caribbean Cytometry and Analytical Society (CCAS) and the Caribbean Regional Offices of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.?? It will take place at the Accra Beach Hotel from Sunday, August 22 to Friday, August 27.

Based on regional needs, this workshop is being held under the theme, "Cost Effective Management and Quality Laboratory Monitoring of Individuals with HIV and Co-infection with TB".

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, will deliver the feature address when the meeting officially opens on August 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Accra Beach Hotel, under the patronage of the Ministry of Health.

The CCAS Distinguished Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Bharat Parekh from the International Laboratory Branch, Global AIDS Program Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) Atlanta, USA.?? Dr. Parekh is the team leader for the HIV Serology/Incidence and Diagnostics team in CDC, Atlanta, USA.

This year’s workshop aims to reinforce the fundamentals of immunology and virology related to HIV during a special Immunology Mini-Symposium on Monday, August 23rd, to be delivered by Immunology experts Professor Peter Lydyard and Professor George Janossy from the Royal Free Medical School and University College London, United Kingdom, respectively.

For the first time, sessions dedicated to tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and care have been included in the workshop programme.?? The Caribbean guidelines for prevention, care and treatment of TB will also be outlined at the meeting as well as Laboratory Quality Management System and Laboratory Accreditation.

A high level of research will characterize Barbados’ contribution to the CCAS workshop, including a study done by persons from the Health and Tourism Ministries on the sexual attitudes and behaviours of tourists whilst vacationing in Barbados.?? This will be delivered by HIV/AIDS Coordinator for the Ministry of Tourism, Madge Dalrymple.?? Assistant Director of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Nicole Drakes, will speak about the results of a survey on Transactional and Intergenerational Sex conducted amongst Barbadian girls in the 15-19 age group.

Additionally, the Ladymeade Reference Unit Laboratory, which is now accredited by the College of American Pathologists and considered a success story for Barbados will be highlighted.?? Songee Branch Beckles from the Laboratory will discuss its everyday functioning and highlight issues and logistics in setting up a laboratory referral system to offer viral load and DNA PCR testing to the OECS countries.

The CHART training coordinator for Barbados, Wendy Sealy will chair an interactive group session on tackling Stigma and Discrimination in the context of HIV.

The CCAS is a not-for-profit charity organization with officers drawn from the University of the West Indies and the Ministry of Health.?? Its mission is to provide training to health care professionals dealing primarily with HIV/AIDS, in the fundamentals of Immunology and Virology related to HIV/AIDS, quality laboratory diagnostics and cost effective strategies for HIV care and treatment.?? To date, over 350 persons from 23 countries have been trained through these annually held workshops. jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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