Business

Stakeholders prepare for World AIDS Day

By Benjamin Flowers
Staff Reporter

Government departments as well as nongovernmental organizations are preparing activities for World AIDS Day, to be celebrated on December 1.
According to the Ministry of Health the day, which is being observed worldwide under the theme “Focus, Partner, and Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation,” is also being observed under the local theme “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”

The MOH along with the National AIDS Commission is preparing a nationwide “text-blast” campaign geared towards raising funds for children with HIV. MOE is also sponsoring “Art and Health” fairs at eight different locations throughout the country, where the public is invited to leave a positive message on a graffiti mural for HIV infected persons.

The NAC will also launch a gaming app, which will be available for download in early 2015.

Similarly the Collaborative Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS AIDS (CNET+) is partnering with the University of Belize to hold a lecture for students studying to be varying types of healthcare professionals on issues surrounding giving therapy and treatment to HIV infected persons.
CNET+’s Director, Eric Castellanos, explained this week that World AIDS Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about HIV AIDs and its related issues as well as to support those living with HIV and AIDS and honour those who have died from it.

“People often have the misconception that if you have HIV it’s a death sentence and that’s not true, if you are responsible and take care of yourself you can lead a fulfilling life,” Castellanos said.
He added that CNET+ strives to raise HIV awareness throughout the year, not just on world AIDS day.

World Health Statistics indicate that in 2013 there was an average of 35 million people living with HIV, with the total number of infected being around 78 million since the epidemic started. Thirty-nine million people are said to have died from the epidemic worldwide.

There were 2.1 million new infections for 2013, with 240,000 of these being children.

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