Men across the island will get another opportunity to arm themselves with vital information designed to encourage them to lead a healthier lifestyle.
The Bureau of Gender Affairs, in collaboration with the Caribbean AIDS Alliance, will host a men’s health fair – Shelling Down to Good Health – on Saturday, February 11, in Jubilee Gardens, the City, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
During the day, a number of health checks will be carried out, including HIV testing and counselling, as well as blood pressure and blood sugar testing. The Barbados Family Planning Association’s mobile clinic will also be on hand.
There will also be presentations on male vulnerability to HIV; stigma and discrimination with emphasis on HIV; healthy living for males, looking at nutrition and diet, especially for persons living with HIV; as well as drug abuse and alcohol and their effect on a person who has contracted the virus.
Some of the agencies participating in the fair are: the Barbados Vocational Training Board, LASCO, National Sports Council, the Barbados Cancer Society, the Sparman Clinic, the Centre for Counselling Addiction Support Alternative (CASA), the Ministry of Health, the Men’s Health Discussion Group and MESA.
Underscoring the importance of the fair, an official in the Bureau said research had shown that more men were contracting and dying from HIV and AIDS because they were presenting themselves for care in the late stages of the disease.
"Recently it has been revealed that young men between the ages of 15 and 29 years are most vulnerable to contracting HIV and AIDS…Furthermore, some men appear to be unaware of the various medical tests that they should undertake and at what age they should be done," she added.
She suggested, therefore, that the fair should make men more aware of tests and services specific to them, as well as encourage them to go earlier for medical care.