Oct. 11, 2002 – Beginning this month and continuing through June 2003, health care professionals in the Virgin Islands have the opportunity to receive training in new and emerging treatments for patients with HIV/AIDS. The University of the Virgin Islands will provide the newest in HIV/AIDS education, training and consultation to nurses throughout the territory through a $114,000 sub-grant with the University of South Florida.
UVI's St. Thomas campus chairperson Dr. Gloria Callwood is the local project coordinator. Professor Ophelia Powell Torres, a registered nurse, will provide nurse education. Faculty from the University of South Florida will travel to the territory to consult with Callwood and Torres and train other health professionals, which may include physicians, dentists, pharmacists and other clinical providers.
The HIV/AIDS training will be available for all nurses, with the initial focus on the nurses who provide services at Ryan White Grant sites such as the East End Clinic on St. Thomas and the Frederiksted Health Center on St. Croix.
Ryan White Grants, available across the nation to assist in combating HIV/AIDS transmission and improve treatment of patients with the disease, are named for the boy who contracted HIV through a blood transfusion and later died from AIDS. Training will be based on needs identified by nurses through a needs assessment that is currently being conducted.
According to Dr. Michael Knox, the USF professor who wrote the grant and is directing the project, "This grant provides unprecedented opportunity for Florida and the Caribbean region to collaborate to train health care professionals to treat HIV."
Statistics compiled by the V.I. Health Department Office of Minority Health on the HIV/AIDS situation in the territory are available through the HIV Clearinghouse Project. (See Source article, "V.I. information about HIV/AIDS is available" and the Clearinghouse Web site at
For more information on the nurses training call Callwood at 693-1291.
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