Strengthening Jamaica's HIV Response with Positive Health, Dignity, and Prevention
October 30, 2017
Late last month Health Policy Plus (HP+) officially launched the newly updated edition of its Positive Health, Dignity, and Prevention (PHDP): Training Modules for Promoting Leadership among Persons Living with HIV. The curriculum, originally published in 2015, was created by and for people living with HIV and key populations to promote personal health and advocate for high-quality HIV services. This second edition, which contains 17 training modules, was revised to better address the needs of key populations and to reflect the World Health Organization’s test and treat guidelines, adopted by Jamaica in January 2017. The curriculum includes new and updated modules on a range of topics, including treatment literacy, disclosure, and stigma and discrimination, and contains training menus that demonstrate how the modules can be used comprehensively or a la carte depending on a groups’ needs, goals, and the amount of time they have for training.
The PHDP curriculum rests on a global framework, jointly authored by the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) and UNAIDS, that advances a holistic approach for responding to HIV. GNP+’s executive director, Dr. Laurel Sprague, was on hand at the launch where HP+, the National Family Planning Board's Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV (GIPA) Capaicty Building Project, and the Jamaican Network of Seropositives, or JN+, presented her with a copy of the revised curriculum. In the weeks following, Sprague addressed members of the newly formed Global HIV Prevention Coalition in Geneva, making mention of the work GNP+ and other networks of people living with HIV have been doing to promote the PHDP framework. She said, “HIV prevention demands that we commit to the right to bodily integrity and respect for autonomy for all people—and especially for those you might see as different or other than you…”
An indication of the close collaboration between HP+, government, and civil society on Jamaica’s national HIV response, the launch was held at the National Family Planning Board and chaired by Devon Gabourel—director of the National Family Planning Board's Enabling Environment and Human Rights Unit where GIPA is housed. Attendees reflected on the origins of the curriculum, its use as part of Jamaica’s national HIV response, and its continued importance in supporting the country to achieve the objectives of Jamaica’s National Integrated Strategic Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV (2014-2019) and the National HIV Policy.
HP+ will continue to support the Jamaican government to institutionalize the principles of the PHDP within its national HIV response, including the rollout of test and treat. As part of this ongoing effort, HP+ is working closely with the Ministry of Health to develop an HIV support group training manual for adolescents and young adults living with HIV, drawing heavily on the revised edition of the PHDP curriculum. The project, along with a multi-stakeholder steering committee, is also developing a framework to incorporate PHDP community priorities into Jamaica’s national HIV policy response, from the national to service-delivery level.
Pictured from left to right in the photo above: Sara Bowsky, deputy director of HIV, HP+; Devon Gabourel, director, Enabling Environment and Human Rights Unit, National Family Planning Board; Howard Gough, psychological coordinator, Treatment, Care and Support in the HIV, STI and TB Unit, Ministry of Health; Ainsley Reid, coordinator, GIPA Capacity Building Project, National Family Planning Board; Dr. Laurel Sprague, executive director, GNP+; Joseph Reynold, acting executive director, National Family Planning Board; Ricky Pascoe, president, JN+; Jumoke Patrick, executive director, JN+; Sandra McLeish, Jamaica country director, HP+.