HIV/AIDS Programme Manager, Suzette Moses-Burton along with representatives from the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation will be travelling to the Dominican Republic to attend a "Consensus meeting on Access of Most-AT-Risk and Vulnerable Populations to HIV Prevention, Treatment and Health Care Services in the Caribbean" October 7-9, 2009.
Suzette mentioned that this meeting is critical because one of the priorities for action under year two of the EU project is Most-at-Risk Populations and before planning interventions we need to have a clear understanding of the situation that exists with this population, and more importantly include them in the discussions about developing interventions that will best suit their needs.
Some of the objectives of this three day meeting are as follows: review what is known about the accessibility, utilization, quality and outcomes of HIV health services for men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender, sex workers, prison inmates, and drug users in the Caribbean; to establish a community of providers of services for MSM, Transgender, sex workers, prison inmates and drug users in the Caribbean as a platform for ongoing information-sharing and capacity building; to design a set of pilot interventions for MSM and sex workers in the Dutch and British overseas territories within the context of the EC/OCT Project.
This consensus meeting is an activity that stems out of the HIV/AIDS European Union Project. Once this meeting is concluded certain results are expected for the region. Such as: Regional consensus on priority actions to reduce barriers and enhance the quality, accessibility, utilization and outcomes of HIV prevention, treatment and care services for MSM, transgender, sex workers, prison inmates and drug users in the Caribbean; A Caribbean Plan of Action to enhance HIV services for MSM, Transgender, sex workers, prison inmates and drug users in the Caribbean; Interventions designed for implementation in the Dutch and British OCTs starting in 2010.
The three days will consist of various panel discussions covering a wide variety of topics. At the end of day three workshop attendees will be split in four groups, namely representing drug users, prison inmates, men who have sex with men/transgender, sex workers. These groups will be the ones that will together with the facilitators develop a plan. Together they will: review key documentation pertaining to the respective group; identify key information gaps; indentify key actions and strategies, and lastly identify key barriers and underlying/contributing factors to provide HIV health services for vulnerable populations in the Caribbean.