HEALTH MINISTRY TO FOCUS ON HIV PREVENTION PROGRAMMING

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Minister of Heath, Donville Inniss

Come next year, government will be intensifying its HIV/AIDS public education and programmes.

Minister of Health Donville Inniss revealed this recently as he noted that, “the number of persons becoming infected with HIV needs to be reduced if we are to succeed in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

He was speaking last Sunday evening at the National HIV/AIDS Hotline Volunteers Annual Awards Ceremony. He stated that “a small but growing number of countries have started to reduce HIV prevalence through sound prevention efforts. This is also the direction that we will be taking”.

Minister Inniss also disclosed that the Ministry of Health was seeking to establish a “comprehensive programme” which would promote safer behaviours, reduce vulnerability, encourage use of key prevention technologies, promote social norms that favour risk reduction and address the drivers of the epidemic.

He said that effective prevention efforts must focus on measures that directly support risk reduction by providing information, skills and access to needed commodities, such as condoms.

“These actions must, however, be carried out in the context of our reality. We need to know our epidemic and set our priorities accordingly,” he pointed out.

The new Health Minister also commended the volunteers on the role they played in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “The role of telephone hotlines and helplines worldwide has been critical in the dissemination of information to the general public. No less can be said of our own National AIDS Hotline, which provides accurate, clear and simple information on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections to the general public,” he underscored.

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