JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health, as part of efforts to encourage responsible sexual behavior among young people, as commissioned into service a condom dispensing machine at the Margaritaville sports bar on Gloucester Avenue, Montego Bay.
  • The machine is the fourth of its kind to be installed by the Ministry and the first within a tourist resort area. Others are located at Caymanas Park in St. Catherine and at the University of Technology and the University of the West Indies in Kingston.
  • The acquisition and installation of the machines is being done through a multi-sectoral project involving the Ministries of Health and Industry and Tourism; the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo); the National HIV/AIDS Committee, Facey Commodity Company and other sectoral interests, and forms part of the government's initiative in the fight against the deadly HIV/AIDS disease.

The Ministry of Health, as part of efforts to encourage responsible sexual behavior among young people, as commissioned into service a condom dispensing machine at the Margaritaville sports bar on Gloucester Avenue, Montego Bay.

The machine is the fourth of its kind to be installed by the Ministry and the first within a tourist resort area. Others are located at Caymanas Park in St. Catherine and at the University of Technology and the University of the West Indies in Kingston.

The acquisition and installation of the machines is being done through a multi-sectoral project involving the Ministries of Health and Industry and Tourism; the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo); the National HIV/AIDS Committee, Facey Commodity Company and other sectoral interests, and forms part of the government’s initiative in the fight against the deadly HIV/AIDS disease.

Ruth Jankee of the National HIV/AIDS Committee, informed that the installation of the machine in Montego Bay formed part of a pilot programme, which is designed to encourage more condom use among young people, through the placement of dispending machines at popular spots throughout the island. The programme will run until the end of 2004.

“One of the strategies that the national programme has undertaken is to identify various ways of identifying where are the good places for something like a condom machine, and we realise that where people go to meet other people and socialize, perhaps meet sexual partners, is a good location to place your condom machine. We also know that the age group 20 to 40 years is the most at risk”, she stated.

She pointed out that the machines were bought abroad and retrofitted to take Jamaican coins. The machines take $30 in Jamaican coins before dispensing a pack of condoms.

The machines are stocked by Facey Commodity Company, and monitored by a National HIV/AIDS Committee personnel.

Director of Standards at TPDCo, Mary Helen Reece, in presenting a message on behalf of Executive Director, Michael Muirhead, pointed out that in 2002, TPDCo was given a mandate by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, to work with the Ministry of Health in reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS in the tourist sector.

Acting on the mandate, TPDCo drafted a HIV/AIDS policy for the sector, which was endorsed by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).

In addition, she informed, TPDCo has embarked on an awareness programme, which involves conducting HIV/AIDS prevention workshops for trainers and peer educators, provided general information on the disease and has developed training manuals for peer counsellors. So far, over 1000 workers in the hotel industry have been sensitised through the programme.

Meanwhile, General Manager for Sandals Montego Bay and Chairman of the Product Committee of the JHTA, Horace Peterkin, gave an undertaking that one of the Sandals hotels would be the first resort to install a condom dispensing machine.

He also called on stakeholders in the tourist industry to fully endorse and implement TPDCo’s HIV/AIDS policy for the sector.