Persons living with HIV and AIDS can access financing for income generating activities or for training and education through a special fund.
The announcement was made in a message delivered by Head of the Ministry of Health’s HIV/STI Programme, Dr. Kevin Harvey on behalf of Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, at the launch of World AIDS Day and the HIV/STI Programme’s new anti-stigma campaign today (Nov. 24) at Jamaica House in Kingston.
Mr. Spencer highlighted statistics, which show that a number of persons were missing their clinic appointments and their antiretroviral treatment because of lack of bus fare to go to the clinics or a lack of food to take with the medication.
The new faces of the National HIV/STI ‘Yes You Can’ anti-stigma campaign, Jason Richards (second left) and Ms. Rosemarie Stone (third left), unveil the new posters which will form part of the campaign. Looking on (from left) are: Head of the Ministry of Health’s HIV/STI Programme, Dr. Kevin Harvey; UNAIDS Country Co-ordinator for Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Pierre Somse; and Director of Health Promotion and Protection at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Eva Lewis Fuller. The new campaign as well as World AIDS Day activities were launched today (November 24), at Jamaica House.
“We have taken steps to address this through an income generating project, which was funded as part of the Global Fund ( to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria) Round 7 Grant to the tune of $70 million. This initiative targets persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in low income community settings. It will cater to the self-identified social support needs of these persons in order to improve economic well-being and sustain reliable sources of income,” he informed.
Mr. Spencer said the National AIDS Committee will serve as a major recruitment arm through its 14 branches island wide, along with certain entities, including non-governmental organisations with a proven track record of working with persons living with HIV/AIDS and other vulnerable groups.
Grants will be given to an association or group of persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, an individual living with or affected by the virus or an individual whose situation makes him vulnerable to contracting the virus.
World AIDS Day will be observed on December 1 and will reflect the theme of the HIV/STI Programme’s anti-stigma campaign slogan: ‘Yes I Can…Support Someone Living With HIV’. Study has shown that 17.8 per cent of Jamaicans are not willing to take care of a family member, who is HIV positive, while 76.5 per cent say they would never buy fresh vegetables from a vendor they know to have the virus.
Head of the Ministry of Health’s HIV/STI Programme, Dr. Kevin Harvey (centre), hugs a participant in the one of the programme’s past anti-stigma campaigns, Ms. Annesha Taylor (right), at the launch of World AIDS Day and the programme’s new ‘Yes You Can’ anti-stigma campaign, at Jamaica House, today (November 24). At left is Director of Health Promotion and Protection at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Eva Lewis Fuller. World AIDS Day will be observed on December 1, under the theme: ‘ Yes I Can. Support Someone Living With HIV/AIDS’.
The objectives for this year’s observance of World AIDS Day are to: have at least 1,500 Jamaicans volunteer to get tested on the day; empower at least 500 persons by providing educational and vocational opportunities; and increase awareness of stigma and discrimination.
The activities surrounding the World AIDS Day observance include a national church service on November 29, at the Eastwood Park New Testament Church of God in Kingston and the national event on Tuesday, December 1 at Devon House in Kingston.
Activities at Devon House will include voluntary counselling and testing. There will be a ‘Chill Tent’ where discussions on topics such as risk assessment and condom use will take place; empowerment booths; and a ‘Yes I Can’ graffiti board.
There is also to be an entertainment package between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., featuring Taurus Riley, Konshens, Queen Ifrica, Etana, Tanya Stephens, Chris Martin, Ce’Cile and Goddy Goddy.