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Thread: AIDS in Belize

  1. #271
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    I wish it scare away the pedophiles who are thinking of going to Belize and abuse young children.
    Success is Journey... not a Destination

  2. #272
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Kennel side!
    Regional HIV Testing Day

    Today is Regional HIV Testing Day and testing booths were set up behind the Scotia Bank to commemorate this day. Now, there are a number of commercials and a series of awareness campaigns geared towards educating the public on HIV. But is it working? Is the message being effectively communicated? According to the National Aids Commission, it is. Today the Communications and Program Officer, Arthur Usher discussed the progress so far and other approaches used to encourage people – especially men - to get tested.

    Arthur Usher

    "This is a major part of what helps people to understand the importance. We do multiple variation of out reaches, it's ongoing throughout the year. Big events like this are usually for us is twice a year which is June and world aids day. The organisation like BFLA and PASMO and ministry of health and all these organisations - they're consistently educating people and consistently out reaching. So it's throughout the year and the impact has been felt. What we are doing is called bring a man campaign. The person who bring the most men gets a gift at the end of the day. And for the first 25 men this morning got a official regional testing day mug. So again that's something to kind of change the mentality and work with people to get prizes. We also have 2 social medial competitions that we're doing. We have a selfie competition and 30 to 60 second video competition. And you can just take a selfie with a little caption and upload it to our facebook. You could win up to 500 dollars for first price and 250 for second prize."

    Lincoln Kelly - Knows his status

    "I think it very important for men get tested because what we notice that it's mostly women come out and take tests. We think it's very important for the guys because the guys are at a very high risk. The only way we could know is by people coming out and taking the test so we could better address the situation so it doesn't get out of control."

    While HIV was the main focus of today’s activities, what about other sexually transmitted diseases? Well, according to the Program Supervisor of PASMO Belize – these diseases are very much linked to HIV and must be addressed.

    Keron Cacho - Program Supervisor, PASMO Belize

    "I think it’s very important we always keep the population of our country aware basically of all the sexual transmitter infections that are out there. Because even though it's overshadowed by exactly the amount of HIV infections, they're still very much prevalent. STI's like herpes and gonorrhoea is very prevalent. A lot of people put a lot of attention in regards to HIV infection, however the STI's - like for instance an individual would go to the doctor and say they want an HIV test and they feel quite happy when they get negative results. But at the end they could also be suffering from stuff like gonorrhoea and not treating that. And if you have an untreated infection, a STI, it can actually lead or it could be much more easier for you to actually contract HIV eventually."

    "We have tried our best over the years to do a lot of investigations to see exactly how we can spread the message across. So we've utilised a lot of I think very fun and colourful promotional items. T-shirts that would have special messages that bring about awareness. Again, not only for HIV for STI's. We also try to get promotional items that can at the same time be utilised as an item but spread the right messages across. We have a variety of condoms here, we have condoms for oral and also penetrative sex and we are also displaying the lubricants. There are a lot of myths with the use of lubricants. It's very important when you are talking about sexual transmitter infections and proper protection against HIV and some of the STI’s.”

    A 6 week nationwide HIV testing campaign was also done before today’s event. Similar activities were also organised in Orange Walk.
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  3. #273
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Today at the ITVET in Belize City, the data of the 2014 survey on Knowledge, Attitudes and Sexual Behavior and HIV in Belize was officially released. The survey was sanctioned by the National Aids Commission in anticipation of the 2014 HIV/AIDS Report. A total of two thousand eight hundred households were selected across the country at random and young persons were surveyed on their sexual behavior. Duane Moody looks at the KAP report.

    Duane Moody, Reporting
    The 2013 report on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country showed that over a three-year period, the number of new cases of the virus had remained constant. Two hundred and forty-one new cases were reported overall and there are more men than women affected with the disease. But while the figures for the 2014 report are pending, there are indications that the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS is stable. Many factors influence the numbers and to get an understanding of local demography, the National AIDS Commission sanctioned a survey on the Knowledge, Attitudes and Sexual Behavior and HIV in Belize.

    Gustavo Perera, Executive Director, NAC
    “The KAP report is done…one, it helps the national response to keep track of its progress in key areas. Two, it is part of our global reporting system because we have to report these indicators to the global UN-AIDS mechanism so that when they consolidate the data from countries around the world, that’s how they get the global picture. But nationally, we do it to track the progress in our response.”

    The survey, which was funded through the Global Fund of the United Nations Development Programme, was carried out by the Statistical Institute of Belize. And the results were damning. The survey targeted primarily the youth between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four. Of the sample population, sixty-one point two percent have had sexual intercourse; majority of them were out of school. Nine percent of the youth population, however, had their first sexual encounter before the age of fifteen.

    Jacqueline Smalls, Demographer, SIB
    “Young people, especially the ones under twenty, they are having sex. And we also recognize that there are a significant number of young people who are starting to have sex before the age of fifteen. So as it relates to those persons and reproductive health services being made available to them, we recognize immediately that there is an issue because there is a conflict with what the law allows and what is actually happening in reality. We are seeing that just about one tenth of the persons were sexually active reported that they actually started before they got to fifteen years old. So it is a significant number.”

    But are the youths aware of sexual diseases plaguing the society and the preventative methods or even best practices? Demographer, Jacqueline Smalls, says yes because the results show that ninety-six percent of the fifteen to forty-nine year old population has heard of HIV/AIDS. But there is need for more education and awareness…and from an earlier age.

    Jacqueline Smalls
    “Yes there is more work to be done, but I think it is encouraging that our young people are using a condom at the first sexual encounter which means that they are listening, they are learning and there has been some behavior change. So investments have been made to effect young people’s behavior. We might not have been getting all the positive results that we had anticipated, but things are happening. It is not just for us to continue step up the programs, expand the service to areas where perhaps there wasn’t an apparent need for focus. Only three-fifth of the youths reported having used a condom the first time so that’s good, but it shows that only one half of the youths who had had sex with more than one partner during the last twelve months had actually used a condom. And we know that multiple sex partners is one of the high risk behavior. And while we are seeing that some of them are aware and they are using, we cannot afford to have this gap in this area in particular because as you said, this is where a lot of the risk comes in. So we really need to turn up the awareness campaign on this particular issue.”

    Garifuna youth, followed by the Creoles, are more engaged in sexual intercourse and at an earlier age. The lack of education makes them more susceptible to contracting the deadly virus. These trends support the HIV/AIDS report of 2013 that indicated that primarily in the south, there are more HIV/AIDS cases. So what are the implications of the survey?

    Gustavo Perera
    “Because there is very early sexual debut, sixteen point four years in the case of fifteen to nineteen year olds, it is a little bit lower, it means that there will have to be stepped up efforts for education. Perhaps in partnership with parents and schools because I believe there has to be some common ground in terms of the approach to sexual education among young people because the reality is that young people, even before ten may be exposed to sexual education through the internet, social media, through television. And so that is something that needs to be looked at. In terms of safe sexual practices, I think that certainly, there is the need for a national condom program. The key issues are first the availability and the affordability because we need to establish that in the areas where there is not high usage of condoms it doesn’t mean that it is because of a tendency towards unsafe sexual practices but more issues of economics…can people afford condoms. So we need to establish those.”

  4. #274
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    BELIZE CITY, Wed. Apr. 27, 2016–For the first time in at least 4 years, HIV-related deaths in Belize have hit a triple-digit high, with 110 such deaths reported for 2015, according to a report recently released by the Ministry of Health. By comparison, 119 lives were claimed in Belize due to murder that same year, and just as murder strikes at the heart of Belize’s productive male population, so too does HIV. Health authorities hope, though, that more men could be engaged in early testing and treatment to reduce the incidences of death from the virus.

    Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, told Amandala that the ministry hopes to be able to engage more men in prevention and treatment initiatives and find more creative ways of reaching them after traditional work hours, perhaps meeting them at recreation spots.

    Manzanero also underscored the need for early detection. He said that people are showing up with the virus in later stages of infection, which makes it hard to battle.

    Manzanero confirmed that Belize continues to have the highest HIV prevalence rate in Central America, at around 1.4% of the adult population living with HIV, with Panama behind. The other Central American countries report an HIV prevalence rate of less than 1%.

    According to the new HIV report, while there were 239 new HIV infections reported in 2015, almost 79 persons already had an established HIV infection. The majority of persons who tested positive were put on anti-retroviral treatment, but some of those persons have also died.

    “The ultimate goal of the HIV program is to have the entire population of HIV-infected persons on anti-retroviral therapy and virally suppressed as a means of reducing morbidity and mortality, as well as a secondary prevention strategy,” the report said.

    The gender gap in testing and treatment is evident in the statistics. Although women got tested twice as many times as men did, most of the HIV cases were showing up in the male population and twice as many men died from HIV-related causes as the women who did.

  5. #275
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Making HIV Relevant To Women and Children

    Today, the National AIDS Commission, the Belize Family Life Association, the Ministry of Health and the Special Envoy for Women and Children teamed up for a health fair.
    The event was themed "The Best Defence is a Good Offense", and ti was timed to commemorate today's importance as the National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day.

    We stopped by and spoke with a representative from the NAC:

    Arthur Usher - Communications/Programs OFC. NAC
    "We are celebrating World Kidney Day as well as International Women's and Girls HIV Awareness Day. It's a collaborative effort between the kidney association and national aids commission, Ministry of Health and BFLA and also the special Envoy for Women and Children. So, what we are doing today is providing information as well as free testing in all these areas. Its open to the general public as well as youth, girls, women and anybody can come in and get the test. We do have blood pressure checks, we have kidney checks, we have HIV testing and with all this, we do have all the information, the follow up, the pre and posttest and whatever else information they may need. So each organization has their own booth and their own information sharing."

    "For the most part, women and girls have better health seeking behaviors than men and boys. I think that is something cultural. We are working statistically, the information and the sharing of that information and the knowledge has grown. We are hoping that it translates to better health seeking behavior. Generally what you are seeing is a cultural fair or cultural issue in terms of maybe distrust with a system, they might not feel that the persons within the health system might hold their information to their confidentiality. I think that beside that, men tend to want to until the last minute to get any kind of health seeking behavior and for the most part that is a bad habit. Any physician, anyone would tell you, the earlier you get diagnosed, the quicker we can move on the fixing it. So, I think waiting too long is part of the culture and the idea that we don't need to go to the doctor or we are men and we are strong so we don't need that. That cultural dynamic hinders us from seeking help in general so it think, if we get information and the knowledge together and we say look it's something that we need to do to keep your strength, to be a man, be who you are supposed to be, you need to keep healthy."

    The Health fair went until 2:00 in the afternoon.

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