Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer is making an urgent appeal for persons to discontinue engaging in risky sexual behaviour and protect themselves and their partner at all times. Minister Spencer was speaking against the background of the observance of Safe Sex week from now until February 14, 2011 under the theme “Protect your love, use a glove”.
In his message to mark the week, Minister Spencer pointed out that the number of HIV/AIDS cases reported per year increased by 21% between 1999 (1436 cases) and 2009 (1738 cases). “This situation is exacerbated by high incidences of multiple partnerships and low condom usage. Persons continue to engage in risky behaviour and thereby risking their lives and those of their loved ones."
Minister Spencer says while progress has been made in terms of a reduction in AIDS related deaths, “the fact still remains that more persons are contracting the disease and so we must place emphasis on reducing the HIV prevalence rate across the country."
The number of AIDS deaths has decreased with three hundred and seventy-eight (378) AIDS deaths (234 males and 144 females) reported in 2009 compared to 665 in 2004. This represents a 43% decrease in AIDS deaths since the inception of Universal Access to ARVs in 2004, and 31% decrease since 1999 (549 AIDS deaths).
The National Event for Safer Sex week will be held on Monday, February 14, 2011 at the Portmore Community College, Old Harbour Campus. This event will feature free HIV testing among other things.
Issued by: The Ministry of Health