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HIV Specialists Drill Down on Prevention Benefits of Antiretroviral Therapy in Caribbean HIV Patients

Multidisciplinary specialists gathered in St Maarten from 24th-28th August, 2014, for the 3rd Joint Meeting of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network, the Caribbean Cytometry and Analytical Society (CCAS), and the Caribbean Med Labs Foundation (CMLF) and the 11th CCAS HIV/AIDS International Workshop. 

The organisers selected the theme " Prevention Benefits of Antiretroviral Therapy in Caribbean HIV Patients: the Central Role of Patient Engagement In the Continuum of Care" to allow participants to drill down in detail about what constitutes a succcessful treatment and prevention programme. Such a programme begins with an accessible HIV test capable of reaching vulnerable populations. With this comes the perennial challenge of addressing HIV stigma in our small island settings while extending the necessary support to assist diagnosis and recuritment of positive persons into care.

The next step in the continuum is to retain and monitor patients during care to stage antiretroviral therapy and treat co-infections. And finally, possibly the most challenging step is to provide the necessary social support to counsel effective drug adherence in patients, thereby driving down HIV viral load and securing the full prevention benefits of antiretroviral therapy by cutting back disease transmission in our communities.

At the St Maarten meeting, a four-person team represented CMLF, comprising Director-Laboratory Manatgement Specialist, Ms Valerie Wilson; Laboratory and Qualit Management Systems Specialist, Ms Wendy Kitson-Piggott; Laboratory Information Systems Specialist, Dr Wayne Labastide; and Administrative Assistant, Ms Louise Mathura. 

The major areas of focus were : Immunology and Virological Suppression; Role of Laboratory and Laboratory Networks in the Continuum of Care; Caribbean Country Reports; and Benefits and Controversies of Early Antiretroviral Therapy.

Ms Wilson participated in a panel discussion on WHO Treatment Guidelines 2013 and she also did a presentation on a Regional Framework for National Laboratory Policy Development. Click here for the CMLF presentation on issues around the WHO Treatment Guidelines 2013. Click here for the presentation on a Regional Framework for National Laboratory Policy Development. 

Dr Labastide presented on Using Laboratory Health Information Systems to Support Patient Care and Surveillance. Click here for this presentation. 

Ms Kitson-Piggott presented on a Monitoring and Evaluation System for Tracking Caribbean Network Performance. Click here for this presentation.

For the full programme of the 2014 CHART-CCAS-CMLF meeting and CCAS HIV/AIDS International Workshop, click here.

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CMLF News Issue #7
27th January 2016