By Jaedee Caines

The Observer

More than 30 delegates from 16 regional countries participated in a week-long HIV/AIDS workshop in Trinidad. The workshop conducted by the Society for Family Health (S.F.H), based in Trinidad, sought to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in the region.

Representatives from Cuba, Guyana, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Belize, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Trinidad, Tobago, St. Kitts, Nevis and Antigua –Barbuda benefited from the workshop.

Trinidadian born Claudia Liburd represented the island of Nevis at the workshop and expressed her concept on what the workshop is geared towards. “The project which targets increased condom usage hopes to tear down barriers such as judgemental shopkeepers to condom use through increasing self-efficacy in young women,” said Liburd. The program targets persons who are sexually active and are therefore at risk for the disease. Liburd finds this quite commendable.

The October 10th to 14th event was held at Hotel Normandie in Port of Spain and was sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the PANCAP/CARICOM Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tubercolosis and Malaria. PANCAP refers to the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS.

Delegates were trained in behaviour change communications and social marketting techniques. Liburd is confident that this training will put an end or at least reduce the stigma attached to condom distribution and condom purchase. “I hope to increase self advocacy in women as we tend to be apprehensive in buying condoms,” Liburd said.

Kevin Farara represented sister island St. Kitts at the workshop.