Counseling and testing

Counseling and testing is a vital step in the HIV response.  For persons already infected it is the gateway for to treatment care and support.  In the case where one partner is infected (sero- discordancy), it provides the opportunity for counseling and advice on safer sex practices.  For people who test negative, counseling focuses on prevention messages aimed at reducing risk behavior(s) and provides referrals to prevention interventions such as BCC programmes and other support systems.
National AIDS programmes in the Caribbean currently provide voluntary counseling and testing services (VTC) and provider initiated testing Counseling services (PICT) based on established protocols and algorithms.  This initiative resulted from training provided by The Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) network and JHPIEGO, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University.   Twelve countries benefited from the initial training which began with Jamaica in 2002.   Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Suriname followed in 2003. Barbados and the Bahamas were next in 2004, and Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and Turks & Caicos in 2005.
A Trainer of Trainer (TOT) model was used in order to  incorporate a combination of competency-based and mastery learning methods applied through a defined "trainer pathway."  This meant that the provider was ultimately able not only to train peers, but also to design and develop curricula for training programs
HIV tests are either routinely offered as part of antenatal care or are offered to pregnant women thought to be at high risk of exposure to HIV. This has helped to reduce rates of mother-to-child transmission dramatically in many countries.  
For more information on HIC Counseling & testing In the Caribbean visit:
www.unaidsscaribbean.org
IntraHealth International
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Caribbean HIV/AIDS Alliance
Caribbean HIV&AIDS Regional Training Network