Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler??

Persons living with HIV (PLWHIV) have been assured that they will have access to all government services.

Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler, made this pledge today, as he addressed the opening of the World AIDS Day Health Fair at Jubilee Gardens, the City.

Minister Sinckler said: "I reiterate the commitment of the Government of Barbados to ensure that there is universal access to all government services for all those affected with HIV/AIDS, with particular attention to at risk groups and vulnerable communities."

He noted that universal access "is really an expression of an intention to move to the highest level of access possible for the most necessary and effective interventions that are equitable, accessible, affordable and sustainable over the long term."?? ??????????????????

Mr. Sinckler listed a number of plans that would be undertaken by his Ministry, which has a general role of facilitating poverty alleviation, and providing assistance to the disabled, elderly, poor and the vulnerable.

According to him, the National Assistance Board would be providing continuous HIV/AIDS education for senior citizens and occupants of the Clyde Gollop Night Shelter, so as to reinforce positive change in their sexual behaviour.????

"The National Disabilities Unit will host a number of HIV and AIDS workshops aimed at educating persons and children with disabilities, as well as their parents and teachers. In addition, the Welfare Department will seek to ensure unimpeded access by the aged, unemployed and the vulnerable to HIV and AIDS programmes, in particular those focused on care and support," the Minister disclosed.

Commenting on the hosting of the Health Fair on World AIDS Day, Mr. Sinckler asserted it would help to bring about greater awareness of the effects of this disease. He added it would also encourage persons to change their attitudes and behaviour towards its prevention, leading to a reduction in its spread in the society.

Current figures estimate that about 1.7 per cent of the population is living with the disease.

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