Chairperson of the BGIS HIV and AIDS Committee, Esther Jones (second from left), showing an Agrofest??patron some of the HIV and AIDS related brochures available at the booth. (A. Skeete/BGIS)

Following on the heels of its highly successful Love, Poetry and Song concert at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) continued to take its HIV and AIDS awareness message to the public during the recently held Agrofest in Queen’s Park.

The BGIS booth at the agricultural festival not only focused on the audio visual history of the department and historic Bridgetown but contained an HIV and AIDS awareness and sensitisation component.????

During the three-day event, staff distributed HIV and AIDS related brochures and leaflets compliments the Ministry of Labour, condoms donated by the HIV/AIDS Commission, and the popular children’s book Sticks and Stones, written by Katy Gash and produced by the BGIS.

Chairperson of the BGIS HIV and AIDS Committee, Esther Jones, said visitors to the booth were very receptive of the information offered by the department.

In addition, she observed that the taboo surrounding condoms was slowly changing, with Barbadians now more willing to accept responsibility and discuss issues related to their sexuality.

"Many persons were receptive to the condoms which were distributed as part of our safe sex message. We noticed that a lot of older women took condoms for their sons and male family members. It was nice to see that persons whether aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers or even grandparents were thinking about the safety of their family members and themselves; they want their children, friends and families to practise safe sex," she noted.

With regard to Sticks and Stones, Ms. Jones said feedback on the publication was very positive, with many parents using it as a tool to discuss HIV and AIDS related matters with their children.??

"The Sticks and Stones book was well received by the children and they were quite happy to be given copies. Many had seen it before and had encouraged others to read the book. Several parents appreciated the fact that Stick and Stones allowed them to open dialogue with their children on issues related to bullying, stigmatisation, discrimination and self-esteem. Parents and guardians realised through the book that they need to talk to their children," Ms. Jones pointed out.

For further information on the BGIS HIV and AIDS awareness activities or the publication Sticks and Stones, persons may contact the office at Bay Street, St. Michael at 426-2232 or 426-2242.


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