JIS News

A Targeted Community Intervention (TCI) programme is now underway in Clarendon in order to stem the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Shelton Maxwell, Acting Health Educator at the Clarendon Health Department, told JIS News on Monday (Oct. 3), that the programme was being undertaken as part of the Department’s Behaviour Change Communication Programme, which was initiated by the Ministry of Health to promote healthy sexual habits and reduce risky behaviours.
He noted that the initiative would be carried out in a number of communities and the aim was to reach as many persons as possible.
“Right now we’re working in one community interfacing with persons to sensitize them on the various issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and we want to be there with them until persons have experienced some behaviour change,” he explained.
According to Mr. Maxwell, the programme would involve baseline data collection to determine: the knowledge base of residents as it relates to the disease; lifestyle patterns including condom usage; overall safe sex practices; and risk levels.
He informed that already, community meetings have been held with various groups; a condom monitors training programme was undertaken where some 30 persons, who distributed or sold condoms, were trained to educate the public on proper condom use; while the Red Cross assisted in the training of some 20 peer counsellors, who were expected to interact with small groups.
In addition, educational material was placed in public places and service areas frequented by the public such as hairdresser and barber salons and doctors offices.
Mr. Maxwell told JIS News, that the intervention would be carried out in one community at a time, and would involve working with the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Contact Investigator to give priority attention to residents of the project community, when they visited the clinic.
Meanwhile, the Health Department plans to undertake more community outreach programmes, increase testing, and initiate meetings with community councils and youth clubs.
There is also a proposal for Community Peer Educators to have ‘community walks’ where they visit homes to inform residents about HIV/AIDS.
In addition to Clarendon, the parishes of Manchester and St. Elizabeth are benefiting from various educational and intervention activities under the TCI programme.

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