Message By The Honourable Stephen Lashley

Minister Of Family, Culture, Sports & Youth

To Mark World Aids Day

The United Nations designated World AIDS Day (WAD) on December 1, has evolved into one of the most recognised on the international health calendar. It underscores the threat that HIV still poses to world development three decades after its identification. So, while research continues avidly towards finding a cure, emphasis must be on prevention and reduction of transmission.

The naming of a day of significance therefore, offers new opportunities to raise greater awareness of the epidemic generally honour those who have passed on, and celebrate notable achievements in the response, such as successful treatment programmes for people living with HIV (PLHIV) establishment of effective prevention programmes and increased universal access to services. ??Every two years, a global theme sets the tone for World AIDS Day and for HIV programming throughout the year. The 2010 theme is "Universal Access and Human Rights".

Major factors that rank the AIDS epidemic among the ??greatest challenges to Small Island Developing States like Barbados are increasing infection rates and burgeoning stigma and discrimination. In this regard, if not addressed, we stand the risk of reversing social and economic gains of past decades. Successfully combating HIV demands a unified team effort across all sectors of society and from all our strategic partners.

This World AIDS Day, I am asking you to join us in our call for a national recommitment to active and meaningful involvement in the Barbados response to HIV through our communities, sub-population groups and various government initiatives. We also call for personal resolve.

This World AIDS Day, 2010 the National HIV/AIDS Commission (NHAC) which spearheads our National AIDS Programme is launching an Island wide Community Safari entitled "Community Networking… Driving Compassion in… Driving HIV OUt" to mobilise communities, spread HIV prevention messages, collect food items for the HIV Food Bank and disseminate condoms to persons in the community. ??Other partners in the National AIDS Programme are also organising activities around World AIDS Day to pull attention around national HIV reduction efforts. The schedule of events has been published and we are asking you to get involved.

As a country we have made great strides in the area of care treatment and support of persons living with HIV. We, however, recognise that we have to do more in the area of prevention. This remains a continuing challenge. ??It is a challenge we, as a community and national society, must meet boldly to ensure that every life in Barbados is accorded its full value and above all its dignity.

Author: Minister Of Family, Culture, Sports & Youth

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