Take Responsibility For Your Health!

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Individuals should take responsibility for their health to make sure their lives remain productive and safe.

This is the view of Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett who was speaking at the National Assistance Board???s HIV seminar for the Older Man ??? HIV Stay Healthy at 50 Plus Workshop, this morning at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa.

???It is imperative that each individual take responsibility for his health to ensure that he remains safe, productive and independent, even as he continues to age.

“The information and knowledge which will be communicated here today is necessary but not sufficient to bring about behavioural change. This knowledge must now be translated into demonstrable modifications in attitudes and practices if behaviour change is to be meaningful and sustainable???, said Minister Blackett.

The Minister pointed out that the HIV National Strategic plan for 2014 to 2018 had indicated men as one of the key populations affected by the HIV. ???In 2012, 76.67 % of the diagnosed cases were males compared to the 33.3% for females. Of the 1,673 AIDS related deaths between 1984 and 2012, men constituted 71%???.

??????The World Health Organisation maintains also that despite the global attention being paid to the epidemic, HIV infection rates among older adults have been a neglected area of study and older persons remain invisible in the data on HIV infection and prevalence???.

Minister Blackett stated that there were many social and behavioural factors which might contribute to the high prevalence of HIV among men, including the reluctance of some men to access services for HIV treatment and the infrequent and irregular health seeking behaviour among men which made them more likely to interrupt treatment and be lost to follow-up.

During her welcome remarks, Director of the HIV Commission, Jacqueline Wiltshire-Gay said that men continued to represent the majority of people living with HIV worldwide because ???they may likely pay less attention to their sexual health.???

Ms. Wiltshire-Gay reminded the men gathered that their health practices did not only affect them but also their partners and their families. She said that some men who were having sex with men were also having sex with women and that stigma and discrimination against men who have sex with men made them a difficult population for the Commission to reach.

She encouraged men to be mature in their lives and their sexual behaviours adding that their health contributed to the health of society. The one day workshop featured a session on HIV 101, Stigma and Discrimination and a question and answer segment.

aisha.reid@barbados.gov.bb

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