Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones??

One Government Minister is espousing a return to "old-fashioned" values such as abstinence, as well as being faithful to one partner and the consistent use of condoms, as ways to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.??

Speaking at the Biennial Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception of the AIDS Foundation of Barbados, held recently at the Sandy Lane Hotel, Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, noted that these practices should be employed by persons, until it was time to start a family with one faithful partner.

He added that the serious threat which HIV/AIDS poses to the future of Barbados and other countries in the region should not be ignored.?? "Compounding the challenge before us is the facility with which HIV/AIDS can spread in a rapidly globalising world.?? As one of the unintended consequences of globalisation, it has no respect for national borders. Barbados, as a country that relies heavily on tourism, faces a great risk and challenge," Minister Jones explained.

Acknowledging that this country had made considerable progress in reducing the transmission of the virus from mother-to-child through anti-retroviral medication, and succeeded in prolonging the lifespan of HIV/AIDS victims, Mr. Jones warned that Barbadians should not be complacent about those achievements and drop their guard. "We still have over a quarter million persons living with HIV/AIDS in the region. In Barbados, there are 185 registered new cases every year.?? We, therefore, need to be more strategic and aggressive in our responses.?? Since the proverbial silver bullet for halting the spread of the disease does not exist at present, our best hope of curtailing this epidemic is through prevention," he advised.

In addition to practising abstinence and safer sex, the Minister made a case for an end to stigma, isolation and discrimination of persons infected with the virus.?? "If we are to save our nation from bankruptcy through expenditure on medication to prolong the lives of increasing numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS, we also have to intensify the war against stigma, isolation and discrimination," Mr. Jones stated.??kmoore@barbados.gov.bb

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