The Military HIV/AIDS Prevention Program in Jamaica began in August 2009 and is concerned with building the capacity of the Jamaica Defense Force to respond to HIV and AIDS. There are five components of project activities implemented with the technical assistance of Charles R. Drew University. These include: Strategic Planning; Leadership and HIV Program Management Training; Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) include mobile VCT; Behavioral and Serologic Surveillance; and Management. To date some of the project’s main achievements include i) the development of a draft policy for routine education and screening for health lifestyles, and the draft policy on confidentiality and non-disclosure of service members’ health status; ii) training and certification of 18 service members in HIV Rapid testing, and training and qualification of 23 service members as VCT skill providers; iii) a Behavioral and Serologic Survey, which was conducted on 8-19 November 2010. During this event seven hundred and eight (708) service members completed the surveys, and 602 opted for HIV testing. Information from the BSS will be used to develop future HIV prevention programs for JDF service members; iv) an Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviews (ACASI) post-test negative counseling module was developed by CDU staff to support the VCT services and occasionally supplement the VCT counselors; and v) development of a tri-fold pamphlet on the JDF Policy on HIV/AIDS. Additionally, laboratory equipment, namely a laboratory refrigerator, a microscope, a centrifuge and two pipettes are currently being procured by CDU to support HIV testing at the integrated health facility of the Jamaican Defense Force’s main base in Kingston.
There is an estimated 27,000-32000 persons in Jamaica who are HIV infected. All 14 parishes are affected by the epidemic. About 73% of all the reported AIDS cases in Jamaica were between 20 and 49 years old; 87% of all cases were between 20-60 years old. There is a total 1.7% prevalence rate in the country
- Raise awareness and comprehension of the JDF HIV policy, strategic plan and BSS results at all levels of the JDF.
- Develop strategic routines HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) in the JDF and reduce HIV stigma among military personnel, through the establishment of a Health Education Center.
- Increase the capacity of the JDF to collect and analyze HIV risk behavior data
- Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) has approximately 4,000 members has Eight (8) major units
- Finalized user friendly tri-fold pamphlet on the JDF Policy on HIV and AIDS and distributed throughout the force
- 5 year strategic plan outline developed
- Policy, Prevention, Treatment and Care,
- Strategic Information
- Health Systems Strengthening
- Human rights (including strategies to address HIV-related stigma and discrimination)
- Voluntary Counseling & Testing (VCT)
- Twenty-five (25) service members trained in VCT skills course, 23 qualified as VCT skill providers, eight (8) identified as potential trainers. In 2011, 951 were counseled and tested and 652 in 2012. Eighteen (18) service members trained in Determine HIV rapid testing for HIV screening. Seventeen (17) certified by MOH
- A computerized post test counseling module using the Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviews ACASI was developed. The program provides educational information on HIV and STIs as well as counseling for soldiers who test negative. The module is easily accessible to soldiers who visit the Medical Company.
- Condom distribution (female and male)
- Annual activities for ‘Safer Sex Week’ and ‘World AIDS Day’
- Inclusive of counseling and rapid HIV testing and condom demonstration
- JDF lab technical testing equipment and infrastructure increased
Staff :Terri Myrie, MBA- Project Director, Jamaica
Ms. Myrie hails from Kingston, Jamaica and is currently working as the CDU Project Director with the Jamaica Defense Force HIV Programs. Ms. Myrie holds Bachelors in Science degree from Florida International University and an MBA with a specialization in Human Resource Management from Mona School of Business at the University of the West Indies. Ms. Myrie has worked in the field of HIV for approximately 9 years. During this time, her portfolio has ranged from capacity building of HIV resources, stigma & discrimination, policy development, prevention, HIV counseling and testing. Ms. Myrie has also worked with the government of Jamaica, the private sector, non-profit organizations and faith based communities.
Jamaica Photos 9-5-13- CDU staff