Government, through the Ministry of Health is expected to have a heightened understanding about the status of persons living with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in this country, especially those among the hearing impaired population, thanks to a recent seminar hosted by the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA).

The one-day workshop, which was entitled, Know The Facts, Make The Choice, was a collaborative effort between the NCSA and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It focused on members of the hearing impaired community and sought to empower and educate them through interactive sessions, on the dangers of drug use, and its linkages to HIV and other STIs.

In explaining the rationale behind the session, the HIV/AIDS coordinator in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Francis Scantlebury, stated that the concept of the workshop was developed a couple years ago, and it was ???wonderful??? to see its fruition.

???Indeed, it is an important segment of an overall NCSA – produced project called Stop! Think! Choose!, which has as its mandate, the education of hearing impaired adults about HIV and other STIs.

It is therefore hoped that through conducting this seminar it would increase awareness amongst our hearing impaired community, while enabling the gathering of information to assist with further educational programmes for this vulnerable group in our society,??? she surmised.

Pointing out that the seminar also aimed to measure the degree of knowledge of HIV/AIDS, STIs testing and drug use among our young people, the HIV/AIDS focal person noted the project would take the form of a series of HIV/AIDS and drug education workshops, with one of the workshops to focus on testing and sexual health.

The information shared with the target audience, she further added would also explore why and how they should be tested and the services available to them.

Ms. Scantlebury also disclosed that through the sessions, the NCSA would be able to gather information on hearing impaired persons??? perspectives on HIV/AIDS and its correlation with drugs.

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