The University of the West Indies HIV/AIDS Response Programme (UWI HARP) was established in August 2001 to provide research and capacity building services to the University community, and the Caribbean as it pertains to HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, UWI HARP has grown as an umbrella organization, and has gained recognition in the regional response, as a partner agency within PANCAP.
Its development has spawned two major interventions: the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) and the Caribbean Health Leadership Institute (CHLI). While CHART has a mandate to provide health care training to healthcare providers, with the Regional Coordinating Unit established within UWI HARP, the Caribbean Health Leadership Institute (CHLI) provides leadership training to health care leaders across the length and breadth of the Caribbean.
The CHART Regional Coordinating Unit was established in June 2003 to coordinate the development of training for healthcare professionals working the field of HIV/AIDS, through the CHART network. The CHART Regional Coordinating Unit is situated in the UWI HARP office located on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies.
The Caribbean Health Leadership Institute (CHLI) was established in October 2007 to offer training to leaders in the Ministries of Health throughout the Region to improve the way leaders respond to HIV and other health challenges.
All units of UWI HARP and their programmes are funded by external donors, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
In addition, UWI HARP has been instrumental in spear heading:
- Curriculum development for sensitizing and training staff and students living in a world where HIV/AIDS exists and also for training and capacity building in HIV/AIDS and related fields as outlined in the mandates for both Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART), and the Caribbean Health Leadership Institute (CHLI).
- Support for the development and implementation of the HIV/AIDS Policy for the University of the West Indies. The policy addresses the obligation of the university community to protect the human rights of staff and students living with HIV/AIDS.
- The award of thirty-six post-graduate scholarships at the Masters degree in Communication for Social Behaviour Change
- The completion of studies on the present and projected future economic impact of HIV/AIDS in Guyana and Suriname.
- Research and publication in three areas, namely:
- a study of the psychosocial needs of pregnant women who are HIV positive;
- investigate possible links between HIV and Tourism;
- an inquiry into the possible influence(s) of music videos on the sexual behaviour of teenage girls.
UWI HARP’s main focus now is to generate, attract and manage new resources in its continued attempt to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic and mitigate its impact in the Caribbean, through educational and capacity building strategies.