Press Release – May 21, 2013 - National AIDS Commission Island Committee - San Pedro now counts on the newly acquired skills of nine trained pre and post-test counselors; of the National AIDS Commission’s Island Committee. The nine members became certified after a two-day training, May 18 and 19, held at the El Divino conference room. The training was funded by the USAID Capacity Project and facilitated by Nurse Lourdes Heredia of the Corozal Country Coordinating Mechanism Committee.
The training gave participants an in depth overview of HIV AIDS as well as a chance to dissect the various myths about HIV AIDS while becoming equipped with skills necessary to effectively counsel individuals wishing to undergo the Free HIV Test. We were educated of the various attitudes and values that every counselor must possess.
Other areas of training included: Behavior Change Communication with an emphasis on HIV Transmission; Risk Assessment and Pre Test Evaluation; legal and ethical issues surrounding HIV/AIDS as well as establishing an effective referral network for individuals who become infected with the virus.
Certified members are: Nurse Lezel Calletano, Nurse Roberta Herera, Natalia Fuller, Omar Solis, Dennis Craft, Kristina Romero, Natalie Arceo, Parker Hamilton and Gowsika Yogeswaran. The team will be available at all HIV testing fairs to offer pre test counselling. Further to this, we are working on duplicating this training for any individuals that would be interested in becoming trained.
Speaking of the training, participant and member of the NAC Island Committee Miss Natalie Arceo stated; “The information received is truly amazing and will definitely assist me from now on. Before this training, I would have been one of those persons who would sympathize and feel sorry for an individual who is diagnosed with HIV, but wouldn’t really know what else to tell them. Now, I feel confident that faced with a situation like that, I would be able to deal with the situation and offer the individual the proper information as well as refer them to the right avenues for further care and treatment.”
The NAC Island Committee also offers free Educational HIV Presentations to Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Level students as well as Out of School youth. Our services extend to peer-counseling for individuals living with HIV as well as general HIV information. To find out more about our committee and the work we are doing, feel free to contact Dennis Craft at 650-7021 or Mr. Rene Riverol at 621-8256 and like us on facebook to be updated www.faceboook.com/gettingto0.
About National AIDS Commission Island Committee
The National Aids Commission (NAC) / Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Island Committee was established to Coordinate the Efforts locally towards the National One Response!!!
We are a limb of the National Aids Commission (which is the only entity in the country sanctioned by the Belize Government to work in the Response to HIV) and as such we follow the guidelines established in the NAC’s National Strategic Plan.
Our vision is: “By the end of 2012, Belize will have continued to reduce the number of new HIV infections; extended the length and quality of life of people with HIV and their families; significantly reduce discrimination against persons vulnerable to HIV; and effectively coordinated a multi-sectoral response which is human rights based and gender responsive.”
Our Specific Goals are three fold:
* Ending New HIV Infections,
* Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Individuals living with HIV
* Creating an Enabling Environment.
Our membership is multi-sectoral. As members we have Doctors, Registered Nurses, a member from the San Pedro Police Department, a member of the Media, a member from the National Drug Abuse Control Council, a member from the Belize Red Cross and of-course our ever willing Medical Students, and a host of supporting members.