A senior civil servant has expressed concern that efforts to cultivate behavioural change in the fight against HIV/AIDS may not be having the desired effect.
However, Chief Community Development Officer, Sandra Greenidge is positive that some change can take place but believes that any effort to transform the community must start with the individual.
She was speaking at the launch of the Sargeant’s Village/Vauxhall HIV/AIDS Education Committee at the Island Inn Hotel last weekend.
“In terms of behavioural change, the effect has not been as forthcoming as we would have wished…even though the information and knowledge has been going out.
Behavioural change is not only about changing others but ourselves as well,” she pointed out.
Ms. Greenidge told the 15 member committee that they should stand out as beacons in their communities and set themselves as examples to follow in the HIV/AIDS fight.
“When we target other people we must first target ourselves…you must be prepared to make the sacrifice, your time and energy…this is our greatest challenge.”
There are presently 16 HIV/AIDS Education Committees working in communities across Barbados, with an additional group expected to be launched shortly in St. Thomas.
Trainer with the HIV/AIDS Training Workshop, Vashti Inniss, also encouraged more Barbadians to get tested and not become complacent.
“Eighty-three new cases of HIV were diagnosed here last year and while that number may seem small, it is only out of the number of people that were tested. Those tested were only about two percent of persons in Barbados,” she explained.