Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding has called on the Church to lead in making HIV/ AIDS awareness and prevention for children more straightforward. He was speaking at the World AIDS Day Annual Outstanding Leadership Breakfast this morning (December 1) in Kingston where, Mrs Lorna Golding was named patron of the Jamaica AIDS Committee for one year.
“Part of the thing that we have to deal with is our attitude to that wonderful thing that we call sex…We approach it in a covert, not-to-be-spoken-of kind of attitude, and since it is not something that is discussed in a responsible kind of way, therefore their tutor is very often their suitor and they are taught in a particular kind of way, what all this thing is all about. We have a lot to do in breaking down this psychological mindset and talk about it so that our indulgence can be conducted in a responsible way. I am prepared to work with you. To call on the leadership of the Churches. Let us find a way to be more open, more straightforward without institutionalising immorality.”
The Prime Minister pledged Government’s commitment to supporting people living with AIDS and charged the gathering of leadership of the National AIDS community to be more innovative in encouraging more people to be involved.
“As tough as things are, and we have challenges, it is something that the Government is going to have to be prepared to continue to provide the necessary support to enable those persons who need those drugs in order to live, to resource them. We need to continue to see what more can we do, what new creative initiatives we can employ to evangelise this work to get to the stage where it catches fire, where it takes off, where it simply ropes in people. It is a national effort; it is a national imperative; let us go out and get some more people involved and let us expand this brigade.”
Mrs. Lorna Golding, wife of Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding committed to work tirelessly to raise money for AIDS awareness and patient care during her tenure as the National AIDS Committee Patron. She greeted persons living with AIDS, Ainsley Reid and Rosie Stone at the Annual Outstanding Leadership Breakfast on December 1 in Kingston. Mr. Reid received a leadership award from the Committee. The rate of people dying of AIDS in Jamaica has been on the decrease for the past four years. The number of persons, including babies, needing anti retroviral treatment has risen.
The new patron, Mrs Lorna Golding, said she welcomed the opportunity to serve and said she would use her best efforts to raise funds to intensify the public education awareness campaign and also to provide the relevant drugs for the treatment of persons who have HIV/AIDS.
The National AIDS Committee honoured eight organisations and individuals for their leadership in HIV prevention and advocacy. The Ministry of Education was recognised for the revision of the Health and Family Life Curriculum for schools and the development of a strategic plan for the sector.
The Government of Jamaica has a National HIV/ AIDS policy and the workplace policy is before Parliament for debate.