HIV Food Bank Manager, Stacia Whittaker, would like the Barbadian society to reach the point where there is zero stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV or AIDS.

Speaking yesterday at a presentation of food items and toiletries to the Food Bank by the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ms. Whittaker said it was her hope that in time, individuals would not feel ashamed of their status, be scared to get tested or even get treatment.

She pointed out that persons were often too ill to work, support themselves or even look after their children, and they were referred to the Food Bank for that added food and nutrition, care, support and medication.

???I believe that as we continue to lend our support in those areas, look at ourselves, seek treatment, get tested or let individuals who have HIV feel comfortable so they can even share their status, then we as a society will be going another step further,??? the Food Bank Manager stated.

Extending a heartfelt thank you to the Ministry of Home Affairs??? HIV/AIDS Internal Committee for its support, Ms. Whittaker said not only the Ministry of Health would benefit but the entire Barbadian community.

???I tell people if you want to donate to the Diabetes Association, then you can donate to us because some of our clients are diabetic. Some of our clients are disabled, and if you are more partial to supporting women, we have women that come to the Food Bank. We have men that come also, as well as people with cancer.

???So, it goes to show that we have young, old and middle-aged. It shows that HIV does not point out one and not the other??? it is part of our society and the only way we can really tackle it is by being a society and community that is tolerant of this disease,??? Ms. Whittaker concluded.

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