Remember The Elderly In HIV & AIDS Fight

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The elderly must never be forgotten in the fight against HIV and AIDS!

This appeal was made recently by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, as he addressed the National Assistance Board???s launch of the CD Take Warning and HIV posters for the elderly, at Almond Bay Caterers.

Mr. Blackett said that some elderly persons were still sexually active and were therefore at risk of contracting HIV or other Sexually Transmitted Infections.

???Research has also shown that in some cases, older persons have only recently learned of their HIV status, despite the fact that they would have been living with HIV for a number of years. Thus, unfortunately, on account of not being cognisant of their HIV status, some of them would continue to be sexually active and therefore, proceed to compromise the health of others, especially as they engage in unprotected sex and in some respects, risky sexual behaviours. It is contended that this situation may obtain due to the lack of prevention education and the fact that many older persons did not receive any training in safer sexual activities,??? he added.

The Social Care Minister said that it was both timely and appropriate to have members from the National Assistance Board???s HIV Seniors Drama Group produce a CD in an ttempt to spread the message of HIV.

???The messages which are contained in the CD are in keeping with national prevention strategies, such as behaviour change communication, social marketing of condoms, programmes promoting abstinence, delaying the first sexual encounter, HIV counselling and testing drives, which have made a great difference.

???The National Strategic Plan For HIV 2014-2018:Investing for Results – All You Need to Know reports that prevention interventions are said to be high-impact when rigorous research and widespread experience show they are most successful at reducing the number of new infections,??? he noted.

HIV Posters for the Elderly were also unveiled, which will complement the CD as they centre around the older adult and educating them about facts related to HIV and STIs and how to take the necessary precautions.

???Both the CD ???Take Warning??? and the two posters which have been designed for the elderly will form a pivotal role in Government???s quest to remain committed to ensuring that older persons and not solely younger persons are seen as a priority when it comes to implementing mechanisms to confront and intervene in HIV matters.

???My Ministry will continue to network with its requisite agencies and other partners to undertake the necessary programmes and activities with much input and involvement of the elderly,??? Mr. Blackett reassured the audience.

aisha.reid@barbados.gov.bb

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