Use New Social Network Media To Reach Young People

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Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, making a point during discussions with??Task Team Leader, Dr. Chiyan Choa (middle) and Director of CDC-Brazil, Dr. Aristides Barbosa.

There is a need for those driving the campaign against HIV and AIDS to also use the new social network media to get their messages to young people.

This view was expressed today by Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who said there was a need to use Twitter, Facebook and other features young people use to communicate with them.

"To re-enforce the message we will need to establish a project to look at new media… Capturing the attention of these [young] people by the traditional methods will not work. We have not yet created interesting games which they would download… They read interested books, but we are yet to tap into their world," Mr. Lashley suggested.????????????????

His comments came as a three-member World Bank Mission visited him at the Warrens Office Complex. Those attending the meeting included Task Team Leader, Dr. Shiyan Choa; Director of the Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Aristides Barbosa; Public Health Specialist, Carmen Carpio; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Family, Diane Campbell; and Director of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Jacqueline Wiltshire-Gay.

The Minister pointed out that there were still some concerns about behavioural change. "Behaviour is difficult to change and it is for us to come up with new areas and be more innovative," he told the gathering.

Dr. Choa stressed that the HIV virus was not only a major health sector issue, but a social one, hence the need for a multi-sectoral approach. She said the near two-year-old Government of Barbados/World Bank HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Project was at a very critical stage.

"I see a lot of progress [with the project] and I am pleased to see the teams looking at how to tackle high-risk groups. People are not changing behaviours and this is a challenge we have to deal with," the Task Team Leader noted.

The Mission will be meeting with key people this week to assess the progress of the US $35 million project, which supports the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for HIV Prevention and Control 2008-2013 and the Cabinet-approved behaviour change strategy.??

saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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