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Thread: AIDS in Belize

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Exclamation Belize has highest HIV rate in Central America

    Ch 5:

    Belize has highest HIV rate in Central America

    It is not new news, but it is worth keeping in mind. A release today from the World Bank confirms that Belize boasts the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of HIV infection in Central America. According to a UNAIDS document entitled "HIV/AIDS in Central America", the prevalence of HIV in Belize's adults is two percent of the population. We are followed by Honduras at one point six percent, Panama one point five percent, Guatemala one percent, El Salvador and Costa Rica at point six percent and Nicaragua with point two percent. The World Bank report was released at the third Central American Congress on sexually transmitted diseases currently underway in Panama City.

  2. #2
    belizeanblue Guest
    10 yrs ago Honduras had that dubious distinction. I wonder what we Belizeans are doing wrong.

  3. #3
    baldhead Guest
    What is wrong??? Too much talk - NO action!! Starting at the top!!!

  4. #4
    Guest
    Originally posted by baldhead
    What is wrong??? Too much talk - NO action!! Starting at the top!!!
    i suppose it is the person who is 'on top' that you are talking about, the problem starts with'us' and not the political directorate in this one. you wanna mek love, buy a glove!!

  5. #5
    Easy money Guest
    You can not blame Musa goverment on this one.Enough sex eduction is out there.Everyone know that unprotective sex could lead to STD, or even HIV & AIDS.

  6. #6
    cookiegirl Guest
    I agree with you EM, the type of mentality that exists in this country and the absence of consideration and sense make it easy for people to be getting this disease.

    Nowadays, you don't even know who is carrying this disease, and noone, i notice, seem to care to take care of themselves. Everybody wants the next score and they fail to see at what costs. Responsiblity for something like this falls on one self.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    gumagarugu
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    well said cookiegirl.
    "Men always want to be a woman's first love - women like to be a mans last romance." - Oscar Wilde

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
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    Orlando, Fl
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    Yep!
    Love is a many splendid thing and food run a close second.

  9. #9
    miser Guest
    fraid fuh belize now:o

    maybe i want to put some joke into it but by no means it is funny. like money money said EDUCATION is key but also condom must be used. i think that old custom die hard and that is belize people like to "ride bareback" because they think thats the only way they are "getting" it.

  10. #10
    Garifuna Bemetu Guest
    dats why when i go da belize my rooster come along......because i caan figure out whe belize do to me .....but as soon as i land da belize like everything wake up pan mi....as soon as my rooster start with the cock a diddle do..... i am ready to nyam de corn :cool:

  11. #11
    dj illmatic Guest
    so you like yam nuh tru GB I figure that where
    most of your skills were? :)lol

  12. #12
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    AIDS week in Belize focus on stigma

    Ch 5:
    AIDS Week focuses on stigma

    Whenever we get sick we're generally treated with a little extra care and compassion by the people we know, especially our families. But sadly, this is not always the case, even if we discover we have a potentially fatal disease like HIV. Next week is World AIDS Week, and once again the focus in Belize is not only on creating awareness, but arousing compassion for those infected with HIV or suffering from full-blown AIDS.

    Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
    People living with HIV and AIDS continue to be shunned by the wider Belizean society. It's a situation that the Chairperson of the National AIDS Commission, Ambassador Dolores Balderamos Garcia describes as being more devastating than the epidemic itself.

    Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Chairperson, N.A.C.
    "I think that is one of the areas in which we feel that there are still major challenges. We still have major challenges of behaviour change, for example, we have major challenges of not all our sectors becoming as involved as we would like to see, but perhaps the greatest challenge is the continued stigma and discrimination."

    Once again, the theme for this year's World AIDS Week is "Live and Let Live, Eliminate Stigma and Discrimination." On Sunday, Belize joins other countries across to globe to hold a number of activities to raise the awareness.

    Dolores Balderamos-Garcia
    "We are going into a very hope filled week. A week in which we can celebrate our accomplishments, but of course keeping in mind how far there is still to go because I think there is a long, long way to go to end the stigma and discrimination and allow our people to seek and to have access to the care and treatment."

    In Belize, the days of activities get underway with an AIDS walkathon from Ladyville to Belize City. It is sponsored by the Belize Water Services Limited as part of their community service programme.

    Martin Greenhalgh, C.E.O., Belize Water Services
    "We are starting off from mile ten at six a.m. in the morning and then about a hundred and forty employees, family members and friends of staff will be walking to the Marion Jones Stadium. The time for arriving is approximately nine-thirty."

    Jacqueline Woods
    "And then what takes place at the Marion Jones Stadium?"

    Martin Greenhalgh
    "Well I'll make a little speech to thank everybody and it will culminate and hopefully raise a little bit of money which we will be donating to the National AIDS Commission."

    Dolores Balderamos-Garcia
    "It's actually nine days, nine full days. We call it was week, but it's nine full days of awareness, activities, consciousness raising and recommitting ourselves to the fight against HIV."

    Last week, Belize participated in a meeting of the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS to strengthen the countries ability to establish programmes, improve linkages and implement national priorities in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

  13. #13
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    What's worse than having AIDS? Having AIDS in prison in Belize

    Ch 5:

    Inmates with AIDS: A double whammy

    If you thought that last night's story about a young HIV positive man who had unprotected sex with dozens of unwary women was an isolated incident, think again. Tonight News 5's Jacqueline Woods ventures behind the walls of Hattieville Prison...and finds that, like the rest of society, AIDS has left its mark.

    Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
    Looking at thirty-seven year old Errol Fairweather, you would never suspect he has AIDS, but Fairweather is one of eight inmates living with the disease at Hattieville Prison. Fairweather says he did not contract the HIV at the institution, but believes his behaviour on the outside put him at risk.

    Errol Fairweather, AIDS Patient
    "I was living a life of drinking, drugging, and partying. I've had numerous partners, you know. I have had numerous partners throughout Belize, where I am from. It's hard to pinpoint the person where I might have gotten it from. I was a person that was never was into condoms, nothing like that, you know, and I am very sorry for it today."

    Fairweather's first term in jail, on a burglary conviction, ran from 1997 to 2000. It was during this period in early 1999, that he was first tested for HIV. Although the result was positive, he was never told about his status until several months after he was released. However, by that time, Fairweather says he already had sex with other women.

    Anthony Sankey, Director of Training, Hattieville Prison
    "That was well before the Kolbe administration took over management of the prison, so it was a different set of persons who was responsible to see to it that he should have had that information passed to him in a timely fashion."

    Although Fairweather was out of jail, he hardly had time to enjoy his freedom. By mid 2002 the disease had started to eat away at his body and he was reduced to skin and bones. He spent several days in the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, receiving anti-retroviral medication. As his condition slowly improved, he was discharged. But despite his condition, Fairweather continued to get in trouble with the law. He committed another burglary and last December was sent back to prison. Since then, he has become the most vocal inmate to speak openly about AIDS in an effort to educate others about the deadly disease.

    Errol Fairweather
    "That's my first goal. I don't want to hurt no one no more, you know. That's why I am sitting here speaking out because I have no intentions like that. I want to give back to society. I want to use this sickness to help as much as I can."

    Although less than one percent of the prison population is known to have the disease, prison officials believe there may be a higher number among its one thousand and eighty inmates.

    Erika Goldson-McGregor, HECOPAB Central Health Region
    "We've recognized that the prison population is a vulnerable group and we've tried to identify strategies in which we could target all the different population within Belize. And since it is a captive audience, we thought that we could be very successful in whatever interventions we could implement within this particular population."

    According to the Health Education Community Participation Bureau's coordinator, Erika Goldson-McGregor, one programme they have initiated is a support group for inmates.

    Anthony Sankey
    "One of the interesting I have also come to realise is that they share their experiences when they get into the support group. And if somebody may be seeing him or herself being discouraged for some reason or the other, that is where the support group kicks in to say hey, all is not lost, you are still on the right track, keep up the fight."

    The stigma and discrimination, that most HIV/AIDS patients experience in society does not appear to be as evident in prison.

    Errol Fairweather
    "A lot of the inmates have a lot of love in their heart cause they truly embrace me and they try to embrace a lot of the other brothers. And I think as long as we can educate them, you know, Miss Erika and they come in with the programme to educate the inmates they will learn a lot more."

    Because persons living with HIV and AIDS must live a healthy lifestyle, the Kolbe Foundation does its best to provide the affected inmates with all the necessary services.

    Anthony Sankey
    "The adequate amount of disinfectants, cleaning materials, and everything is provided so that they can clean themselves regularly. We have improved our toilet facilities in most areas of the prison."

    "Our welfare department works closely in identifying in any special nutrition and dietary needs for persons living with HIV and AIDS and those arrangements are coordinated with the help of our medical staff."

    Fairweather has been lucky to receive support from his family. He gets financial assistance that he uses to maintain a high protein diet and medication. Today, the prison's training officer, Anthony Sankey, says they plan to tap into the Ministry of Health's free access to anti-retroviral drugs.

    Anthony Sankey
    "Through the help of the National AIDS Commission, where I was recently confirmed and informed that we will be considered as one of the priority groups to get some of the assistance where the treatment and medication is concerned for persons we have living with HIV/AIDS within our institution."

    Inmates with HIV and AIDS inmates are not isolated, although Sankey says those living with the condition do prefer to stay together. Fairweather says once he is released in 2006 he will continue his advocacy and admits if he happens to come across someone he likes, he will be completely honest with that person.

    Errol Fairweather
    "Because I have no intention to hurt no one no more. I'm not saying that me and a young lady won't be able to be friends, to sit and have a meal, to maybe sit and talk, but as far as a relationship for me as far as sex or anything, it's a no, no for me. That's not part of my agenda no more."

    Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

  14. #14
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    Solidarity march ends AIDS Week

    Ch 5:

    Solidarity march ends AIDS Week

    Despite numerous and costly AIDS awareness campaigns statistics show that the public still may not be getting the message. That's the fear of the National AIDS Commission's Executive Director, Martha Carrillo, who spoke to News 5 about the upcoming annual HIV/AIDS Solidarity March. The event will culminate a week of activities to raise awareness of the disease.

    Martha Carrillo, Executive Director, N.A.C.
    "It's becoming a problem of the National AIDS Commission, a problem for Alliance Against AIDS or a few that really care. But when we come face to face with those persons whoa re already dying of AIDS and their only question to themselves is why? I mean, why did I not listen, then we get really concern, and sometimes to be honest we get very upset because we are bringing across the message and people are not listening. And sometimes when people are listening, what they will do is criticise and say the commission is not doing enough, but yet when we are doing, we are not receiving the response. So really, we know that the responsibility lies with the individuals, the responsibility to change their behaviour, the responsibility to acknowledge that we have a problem in our country and to assume their role and responsibility in the response."

    "This year our theme is "Live and Let Live, Eliminating the Stigma and Discrimination" and we will be walking in solidarity, one, to show our support for persons living with HIV, also in remembrance for those who died of AIDS and bringing out the message that we are united in supporting persons living with HIV/AIDS and that basically there will be no tolerance for discrimination against this particular population. In addition to this, of course bringing across the strong message that we have a very serious situation on our hands and as a country we need to respond. And usually the solidarity march includes different sectors, young persons, mothers, men, women, children, and basically we are saying as a country we realise that we need to come together if we will be able to deal with this situation of HIV and AIDS."

    The HIV/AIDS solidarity March gets underway at ten on Saturday morning from the Constitution Park. It ends at the B.T.L. Park where an all day fair will be held. In a programming note, viewers are asked to tune in Sunday morning at ten for a special live via satellite presentation originating in Barbados on the occasion of World AIDS Day.

  15. #15
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    AIDS in Belize

    Ch 5:

    Misconceptions about HIV/AIDS prevail

    There are a lot of misconceptions about HIV and AIDS in Belize, and today the Ministry of Health, PAHO, and the National AIDS Commission attempted to set the record straight, particularly in terms of numbers. They presented a situational analysis to be used in the development of a new strategic plan. Jacqueline Woods reports from the Radisson.

    Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
    HIV/AIDS is among the ten leading causes of death in Belize. The startling statistics were announced at a presentation of the situation in the country, by Epidemiologist and Director of the National AIDS Programme, Doctor Paul Edwards.

    Dr. Paul Edwards, Director, National AIDS Programme
    "The statistics reported from the ending of 1986 until the end of September 2003 reports that there are a little bit more than two thousand, five hundred Belizeans living with HIV or AIDS. When we talk about the ratio, male to female at the start of the epidemic it was two males for every female. As we have said, there is a feminisation of the epidemic, there are more females being infected, and therefore those numbers are fastly approaching one male to every female."

    Those who are mostly affected are the productive and reproductive sectors, persons between the ages of fifteen and forty-nine years old.

    Dr. Paul Edwards
    "Fifteen through forty-nine for males represents that reproductive age group, that individual that male out there who is working, who is contributing to his household, and also contributing to the economic stability of this country. What happens when he falls ill, especially in environments whereby he is the sole breadwinner? And for females, they are also a part of that working force. And even more so important, they are in the reproductive age group. If they are HIV positive there is a possibility that their newborn can also be HIV positive and therefore the problem becomes even more complicated whereby we have orphans, whereby both of those parents would die, and even more so, orphans who are HIV Positive."

    Every twenty-four hours, a person living in Belize is diagnosed with HIV. Most of those patients contracted the virus through sexual activity. Another factor contributing to the epidemic is the abuse of alcohol, crack and cocaine that all lead to risky behaviour.

    According to Adele Catzim, an independent consultant with the Pan American Health Organization in Belize, the study also revealed that many women contracted the disease at home because of the myths and personal perceptions that still exist.

    Adele Catzim, Independent Consultant, PAHO
    "There's a woman who has got it and who cried for two hours, she just could not believe it. She is a good woman, she's never had an extramarital affair, and she is HIV positive. There's is another woman in the south of Belize who is convinced that her husband got it from a mosquito and that's how he passed it on to her. There's another woman whose husband told her that he has been cured by a herbalist and she wants to know, she's HIV negative, but she wants to know if she can go back to her husband now because he's been cured by the herbalist."

    The situation analysis report will be used to help Belize access the World Health organizations 3 by 5 initiative that will allow three million living with the disease in developing countries to access anti-retroviral medication by 2005.

    Dr. Kathleen Israel, PAHO/WHO Representative, Belize
    "Belize is already on the list of countries targeted for the 3 by 5 initiative. As a matter of fact, all developing countries are. At the local level, what we need to do make an assessment of the number of people who are HIV positive and who actually have the disease AIDS. And with that assessment we will communicate to the PAHO regional office in Washington and they will get the Geneva office involved. Now once that is done, an assessment will be made of the needs of Belize for anti-retroviral therapy and resources are being made available from different funding agencies through PAHO and WHO that is going to trickle down to Belize."

    Dr. Edwards says he is very concerned about the situation, but believes it will take heightened responsibility from every Belizean for the number of infected persons to decrease.

    Dr. Paul Edwards
    "Individual responsibility. Change your behaviour, for those numbers to start decreasing in our country. We need for people to go and get their HIV status known. Know your status, if your HIV negative to put mechanisms in your life to remain HIV negative. For those who are positive, to access the care and counselling that is there, to learn about your nutritional status, to learn about your CD4 level, to learn about what are the medications we are using, what are the side effects, so that when you get to that stage of being full-blown AIDS you are prepared and you will adhere to taking that medication to prevent resistance and the overall will be there whereby you can increase your quality and your quantity of life. That is what we are offering, we're inviting every Belizean to get your status known."

    For persons interested in knowing their status, a voluntary testing and counselling centre is located at the Cleopatra White Health Centre. At the centre you can also find out how you can access free anti-retroviral drugs. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

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