HIV And AIDS Discrimination Still An Issue

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Barbadians living with HIV and AIDS are still being discriminated against.

This is the view of Food Bank Manager, Stacia Whittaker, who was speaking during the launch of the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS), Love Poetry and Song Charity Concert, on Tuesday at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

Ms. Whittaker stated that some of their clients were afraid to visit the organisation because of the stigma attached to the disease, despite the information available about the illness.

???Today, despite the increase in medication, our empowerment centre and our social workers, unfortunately we are still battling stigma and discrimination.??Often times, our clients are ready to give up, refuse to even attend our clinics and sometimes unfortunately even refuse to visit the Food Bank because they do not want to be seen coming to the building. They decide to stay away and sometimes this results in them becoming extremely ill. Sometimes, they pass away,??? she lamented.

The Food Bank Manager thanked the BGIS for its continued support, stating that the donations helped her organisation significantly. She added that during the promotion of the Love Poetry and Song Concert, the public became more aware of the requirements of the Food Bank.

???Events like these are making a huge difference in people???s lives. I see it every day; I see the gratitude that our clients show us. We are truly thankful to be a part of the event for the fourth year.

“We are thankful that persons continue to supply us with the support that we need to continue our efforts with providing food and nutritional services for persons living with HIV and AIDS,??? she stated.

Member of the Barbadian Band Nexcyx, Andr?? Clarke, who will be performing at next year???s concert, said he was happy to be a part of the concert for the second time. He added that he and his bandmates believed in giving back whenever they can.

???When we were first asked to perform at the event [in 2012], we thought it was a good cause ??? but after that we managed to take a trip to the Food Bank and we realised that they really need some help.

“We decided that we were going to give back even more, and at our Mahalia???s Corner event GIS came on board with us for two seasons and we managed to raise some funds for the Food Bank,??? he explained.

The Love Poetry and Song Concert for 2015 will be held on Saturday, February 14, at the Charles Fort, Hilton Barbados Resort, at 7:00 p.m.

aisha.reid@barbados.gov.bb

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