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NACC Trinidad hosts Advocacy and Leadership Workshop for PLHIV, NGOs, Caregivers and Support NetworksActivity focused on treatment adherence and nutrition for persons living with HIV/AIDS

October 30, 2017

The National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) Secretariat, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, hosted a two-day workshop from September 8-9th on Treatment Adherence and Nutrition at the Old Fire Building in Port of Spain. The workshop targeted Persons living with HIV and AIDS, newly diagnosed persons with HIV, Persons caring for PLHIVs, Support networks for PLHIVs. Representatives from ten NGOs attended including CBOs, FBOs, Key Populations. Ten NGOs were represented at the workshop.

The objectives of the workshop were:-

i. To sensitize participants as to the importance of medication adherence and nutrition for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
ii. To help participants understand the medical and psychological issues associated with PLHIV is adherence to medication and their nutritional needs.
iii. To provide medical and social perspectives on medication adherence barriers for patients with HIV and to discuss strategies for promoting adherence to antiretroviral medications.
iv. To identify the unique role that support networks and caregivers play in the promotion of medication adherence and nutrition for PLHIVs

This workshop would contribute towards achievement of the 90-90-90 targets through, improved treatment adherence rates and literacy among PLHIVs and their support networks, increased capacity of PLHIV to adopt healthy lifestyles, strengthened support network for the promotion of treatment adherence and healthy lifestyle and improved understanding of the medical and psychosocial issues associated with client’s adherence to medication and their nutritional needs.

The workshop was facilitated by experienced physicians and the Senior Dietician in the Ministry of Health as well as one NGO. The facilitators leading this workshop were:

Mrs Kitesha Francis-Jack – Registered Dietician, Ministry of Health
Dr. David Musa- Medical Research Foundation,
Dr. Aboh – Treatment Physician- Ward 2 Clinic San Fernando General Hospital and
Ms. Beverly King – Founder of ComTalk International

The workshop was highly interactive with many team-based activities and included topics such as:

  • Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle
  • What is nutrition?
  • Why nutrition?
  • The importance of nutrition
  • Malnutrition
  • HIV & Malnutrition
  • Objectives of nutritional care and support
  • Nutrition required
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Healthy Meal Plan
  • Undesirable significant weight loss
  • Coping with nutrition-related problems

Treatment and Adherence

  • Brief history of HIV & AIDS
  • Understanding HIV and AIDS
  • HIV Transmission
  • To do list when one finds out they are HIV positive
  • What is treatment and adherence?
  • Reasons why clients do not respond to medication?
  • Adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART)
  • What is medication adherence?
  • Barriers to adherence
  • How do HIV medications work?
  • Reasons for Non-Adherence

One participant noted that Mrs Francis Jack was very well informed and produced a comprehensive outline of diet and nutrition considerations for PLHIV. In addition, Dr. Aboh and Dr. Musa provided a great deal of medical insight on the subject of treatment adherence and there was a lot of discussion around the topic of drug-resistance testing and the development of drug-resistant strains of the HIV virus. Participants were so pleased with having the opportunity to speak with such experts that several sought direct counsel from the doctors for themselves and/or other PLHIV to whom they provided support.

Participants also expressed their satisfaction not only with the added information provided by both Dr. Musa and Dr. Aboh but also with the facilitating of Ms. King was able to smoothly and efficiently manage the event procession. Participants were pleased to have been allowed such an interactive discussion space.