PEER EDUCATORS WORKSHOPS DISCUSS HIV/AIDS IN THE WORKPLACE

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Barbados has achieved some success in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but the battle is far from over.

This observation was made today by the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Shelley Carrington who pointed out that since the introduction of the Expanded National Programme in 2001, there had been an 85 percent decline in the number of deaths due to HIV.

Speaking at a Peer Educators Workshop at the Divi Southwinds Hotel, she pointed out that, as a consequence of this treatment, more persons were living longer with HIV, with some 1000 persons registered at the Ladymeade Reference Unit at the end of 2006.

She noted, however, that with the extension of life expectancy more persons in the workplace would encounter those living with HIV.

Ms. Carrington stressed that proper policies and programmes must be implemented to ensure stigmatisation and discrimination did not take root in the workplace.

“We need to do battle with the worst that the epidemic brings out. When you internalise and show your colleagues that stigma and HIV related discrimination increase the negative impact of the epidemic, you will have made an important step in whittling away at a formidable foe. Make no mistake about it, HIV related stigma is a social product with deep societal origins,” she underscored.

The three-day workshop is designed to build capacity within the respective Ministries to deal with HIV/AIDS related matters.

Training will be focussed on pertinent areas, such as prevention methods, communication skills and the development of appropriated workplace policies and programmes.

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