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17november20102Dharamshala: The week-long Advance Training on Prevention of HIV/AIDS organized by Dharamshala based NGO; CHOICE- HIV/AIDS Initiatives and funded by St Stephen's AIDS Trust (SSAT), London concluded successfully in Delhi recently. The Training was supported and facilitated by Dept of Health, CTA, Dharamshala and coordinated by SAHARA Center for Residential Care & Rehabilitation, Delhi. Over 12 trainees including doctors, nurses & HIV activists etc from 8 different regions took part in the training that commenced from 1st of November 2010 and concluded on 8th November 2010 in Delhi.

The Training was comprehensive in the sense that, besides presentations and talks by over 13 trainers including doctors, Psychologist, Counselors, Nutritionists/Dieticians, HIV patients and activists etc, the Training included Field Exposure Trips to Hospitals, ART Centres, SAHARA Michael's Care Home and Shalom Care Home based in Delhi, Role plays and Counseling Practice and Interactive sessions and group discussions etc.

"The aim of this Comprehensive Training was not just to upgrade the basic understanding of HIV/AIDS but also to acquaint them (trainees) more comprehensively about the overall issues related with the HIV/AIDS, threats of the impending epidemic, social stigma and discrimination associated with the disease, importance of preventive measures, basic associated medical problems, the opportunistic infections, voluntary counseling and Testing, window period, various HAART therapies including complementary and alternative therapies etc. The training also aimed at developing skills required to carry home based care and also ‘plan of action' for initiating or strengthening community care and support programmes and undertake appropriate Preventive Awareness/Education workshops for various groups of people (the stakeholders) in the community. I am really surprised by the knowledge and the experience of the participants in the field and was overwhelmed by their response and interest in the training. Their participation in the training is simply amazing and inspiring. I am absolutely happy with the outcome and the results of this training and would love to conduct more such trainings in the near future" stated Dr. Nick Theobald, eminent Trainer and representative from the sponsoring Trust; St Stephen's AIDS Trust.

During the Training major stress were also laid on Prevention of HIV/AIDS, mode of transmission, need of testing and early diagnose, Anti-Retroviral Therapy & Management, Adherence by the HIV clients, Social Behavioral change & acceptance etc.

"Nursing & Home Care session with field-oriented information resources, need and management of Clinical service, Training, Counselling, Social Action programmes and live Testimony by HIV client/ Transgender Mangala were some of the sessions I really enjoyed" said nurse Dondup Tsomo, a participant of the Training.

The Training saw all the trainers stressing on the importance of constant monitoring of client's CD4 count and viral load through test, countering Opportunistic infections, dealing with side effects, need of adherence & resistance, Nutrition & Hygience, Paedetric care etc.

Mr. Michael Marshall, who was the chief coordinator of the Training and also Chief Programme Coordinator of SAHARA: Centre for Residential Care and Rehabilitation while summing up his presentation stated, "Holistic approaches, importance of Positive Thinking & Living, caring for the carers, the role expectations and the burn-outs, organizational and group dynamics and building network of HIV/AIDS clients etc are some of defining factors in the mission to prevent HIV/AIDS and provide care and support to the HIV clients etc".

The trainers and coordinators of the Training include, Mr. Michael Marshall from SAHARA, Dr. Nick Theobald, trustee from St Stephen's AIDS Trust/Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London, Ms. Andrea Bennett, nurse from St Stephen's AIDS Trust, Mangala, TG/ HIV activist from SAHARA, Dr. Snehlata Ghosh from SAHARA, Ms. Shilpi Saraswat, Psychologist from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Dr. Ispa Mohapatra, Ms. Shakti Makkar, Ms. Sarita Kaushik from Lok Nayak Hospital (LNJP), Dr. Sarvesh Kumar, Consultant at Tirath Ram Shah Charitable Hospital, Mr. Deepak Kanokzia from SAHARA Michael's Care Home, Ms. Chingngaihlain, nurse from Ambedkar Hospital, Dr. Saira Paulouse & Dr. Savita Saghi from Shalom.

Ms. Tsering Paldon, head of Delek Hospital's Public Health Section and Vice Chairperson of CHOICE, in her thank you speech during the final wrap up and farewell session stated, "I personally thank St Stephen's AIDS Trust, London for funding the Training, Dr. Nick and Ms. Andrea for the wonderful sessions and guidance, Mr. Mike from SAHARA and Phuntsok Chomphel from CHOICE: HIV/AIDS Initiatives for the wonderful coordination and successful organizing of the Training. And of course, Dept of Health, CTA for their constant support and encouragement in CHOICE's mission and campaigns. We have truly benefited so much from the Training and hope that all of us would go back to our respective areas with lots of knowledge, guidelines and confidence to carry forward our mission to prevent HIV/AIDS in our community and manage successfully the care and support programmes through proper networks etc."