While there has been a reduction of new cases countrywide so far this year, there are gaps to be addressed with regard to youths and particularly young men who have caught the deadly virus.
We spoke to the National AIDS Commission’s Behavior Change Communication Consultant, Shirlene Tablada, who explained that as part of the national strategy to combat AIDS more effort needs to be paid to adolescents and particularly young men involved in unhealthy sexual behavior – they must be tested and counseled to change their ways, and helped to fight off stigma and discrimination from the rest of society.
The workshop features 60 participants from active youth-based organizations in Belize. Several of these organizations visited Jamaica last year and accompanied their Jamaican counterparts to tour sites where the Jamaican policy on HIV/AIDS is being implemented.
Sannia Sutherland of the Jamaican Ministry of Health is a participant at this workshop and says she is reciprocating that visit as the two countries continue to work together.
The Director of Technical Coordination and Program Management says their program is not much different except for the distribution of condoms to over-16s in an effort to help them practice safe sex.
The workshop is being hosted at the Inspiration Center in Belize City.
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