Labour Minister, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, speaking with children at the Red Cross Society’s Youth Symposium at the Lester Vaughan School.

Parents across Barbados are being encouraged to talk to their children about HIV and AIDS.

This advice has come from Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who admitted that some adults were not comfortable discussing sex. But, she stressed, it was important for parents and children to have those conversations, at intervals, about the disease.

Dr. Byer Suckoo made the comments yesterday at the Lester Vaughan School, where a youth symposium was held by the Barbados Red Cross Society’s Youth Commission to observe World AIDS Day on December 1.

She told the young people that it was vital to reinforce the message of abstinence, or being faithful to one person, or using a condom, especially since young people were seeing adults in their neighbourhood changing partners regularly. Dr. Byer Suckoo noted that it was necessary for parents to set a good example and talk to their children about the "practical aspects of abstinence, being faithful and using condoms".

The Minister underscored the importance of HIV education, stating that various ministries and non-governmental organisations were sharing the information with the public. She pointed out that the 15 to 49 age category was mostly affected by the disease and she urged the teenagers to "get the information and share it with your peers".

Dr. Byer Suckoo said Barbados was doing the right thing in relation to its HIV fight and a difference was already being seen. She also reiterated that her Ministry was seeking to implement anti-discriminatory laws to protect the rights of those affected by HIV.??saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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