Over 20 HIV/AIDS counseling providers from Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and the St Vincent and the Grenadines have begun a five day workshop here.

The initiative is a programme of the National HIV and AIDS Response Programme in collaboration with the OECS HIV/AIDS Project Unit.

It is expected that the workshop will help ensure that the country continues to have a cadre of well trained persons to deal with the disease.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Nurse Helene Royer says the training program is part of the response to HIV in the region.

“I am certain that the added skills and experience that you would acquire over the next five days, will challenge your intellect, resourcefulness and perhaps anything that you have ever done before,” she said.

She says testing has proved to be an important intervention for reducing high-risk behaviour and provide a gateway to HIV prevention, care and support services.

“We know there are no instant prescriptions on how to provide counselling hence, further …learning by training is required,” She added.

Meantime Training Coordinator, Carla Dowler, says this week’s course should help strengthen care to people who have tested positive for HIV.

The course ends on Friday.