The Fight against HIV/AIDS Will Continue

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The Minister of Tourism will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the hard work done over the last 10 years to sensitise the public about HIV/AIDS will not be in vain.

He gave this undertaking while addressing a brief ceremony before the staging of the Images of Hope: An HIV/AIDS Perspective dramatic presentation, in recognition of 10 years of involvement in the National AIDS Programme at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, recently.

Going forward, Mr. Sealy told his audience that even if the level of resources was not the same as in previous years, we ???continue to stretch the creativity envelope to ensure that we are involved in this fight in a very significant way???.

???I would love to see the day when this disease is no longer a threat to our population and indeed, we do get to zero ??? no new infections ??? no more deaths.??? he emphasised.

The Minister said the Ministry had a vision to use the arts to promote public education on HIV/AIDS with specific reference to the tourism industry. ???This is a vote of confidence in the arts and the efforts in my view have reaped real rewards. Let me say a big, ???Thank you???, for that confidence and support in making all of these productions over the years possible,??? he added.

Mr. Sealy said the popularity of the Ministry???s HIV/AIDS productions had grown tremendously and credited the producers for finding new and innovative ways of presenting the HIV message in various dramatic formats.

???I am happy to say that???having been present at all of the productions since 2008, that each year they have been quite successful in coming with something fresh and something different, [and] setting a new bar of professionalism, quality and outreach each time.

???Some of these productions have even received notice beyond our shores and have been reproduced over regional television networks and that again is cause for major kudos. Based on audience surveys, the Ministry is convinced that its annual presentations are effective and impactful about educating persons about HIV,??? he noted.

Mr. Sealy said the Ministry decided to tape most of the productions for use as a teaching tool in workshops and any other HIV sensitisation sessions.

The Images of Hope presentation was the final dramatic production under the World Bank-funded Management, Prevention, Control HIV/AIDS Programme. It represented a culmination of all the work done by the Ministry over the years, with respect to educating the public through drama.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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