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                                   Public Relations Officer of the National HIV/AIDS Commission Marilyn Sealy

October 15 to 21 is being observed as AIDS awareness week here in Barbados under the theme “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise – Don’t Turn Your Back on AIDS!”

Several groups will be staging various activities to recognise the week with one major goal of bringing about behavioral change of how people view those living with the disease.

Public Relations Officer of the National HIV/AIDS Commission Marilyn Sealy said the theme chosen is an ongoing one which is internationally accepted.

“We know a lot of promises have been made to find a vaccine to assist persons living with HIV, and we want to remind people of the promise and keep people motivated to do work in the National AIDS Programme.”

The week commenced this year with an Ecumenical service organised by the Barbados Evangelical Association, which took place yesterday at the Church of the Nazarene, Collymore Rock at 4:00 p.m. Today, Monday, October 16, there will be a workshop which is being hosted by the Barbados Employers Confederation in association with the International Labour Organisation, Ministry of Labour and the AIDS Foundation of Barbados. It takes place at UN House at 9:00 a.m. and the topic to be discussed is “Securing the Workforce of the Future”. Also on Monday, there will be Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) at the Grantley Adams International Airport. That session will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will be supervised by the Ministry of Health.

Ms. Sealy noted that the VCT will also continue throughout the entire week.  She explained that: “The Ministry of Health will be continuing the VCT at several locations: Tuesday at Tri-Mart Haggatt Hall; Wednesday at Speightstown Bus Terminal and Esplanade; Thursday at River Road Bus Terminal; and Friday at Wildey Industrial Park.”

Other activities include a panel discussion by the Silver Sands HIV/AIDS Committee, a 20/20 cricket benefit match being hosted by the Barbados Defence Force, A Public Lecture at the Cave Hill Campus which will examine the topic “HIV & AIDS in the Caribbean-can education make a difference?” which will be delivered by Professor David Plummer.

There will be a second panel discussion on Advocacy and Confidentiality at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 19, at ‘Inglenook Cottage’ Shot Hall Avenue, Upper Bay Street. It will be led by the United Gay and Lesbians Society against AIDS Barbados.

HIV/AIDS week will also feature: a sponsored walk; movie night for youth; an extravaganza; and a 6k run and fun walk. The general public is asked to fully support this packed week of activities.

Further information on event dates and times may be obtained from the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Manor Lodge, Green Hill, St. Michael, at telephone number 421-2051.


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