JIS News

Health officials will be targeting women during Safer Sex Week 2005, which will be observed from February 7-14 under the theme, ‘Woman: Smart, Sexy and Safe’.
The focus is part of a continued effort by the Ministry of Health to further empower women to practise safe sex and responsible habits given the fact that, the rate of HIV/AIDS has been increasing steadily among this group.
Behaviour Change Communication Officer in the Ministry, Novia Condell, told JIS News that the focus on women was a continuation of emphasis on the theme of the World AIDS Day 2004 campaign, ‘Women, Girls HIV and AIDS’. “We are out there to continue raising awareness about the risks of unsafe sex. We want women to take a look at their personal risk so as, to help them to move into action to protect themselves,” she explained.
While acknowledging that there were a number of factors prohibiting women from taking the “bold step of saying no condom, no love”, Ms. Condell said there was an urgent need for women to re-examine the risks involved in practising unsafe sex.
“Some of the things we are hoping for during the week and afterwards are that, women will take an honest look at their lives and situations and then will be able to move forward. We hope that they can approach their partners and talk about trust and being faithful among other things,” Ms. Condell stressed.
She also urged persons during the week to get tested for HIV/AIDS. “Getting a test is a forward move, so any persons, who are about to start a new relationship should get tested as a first step to commitment,” she added.
As for activities in observation of the week, Ms. Condell said organised activities would extend beyond the boundaries of Kingston into all parishes. Persons are invited to call their parish public health departments to ascertain information on the activities for the week.
The highlight of the week is a national event, which will be a symposium at Mandela Park in Half-Way-Tree on February 11, commencing at noon. Dubbed ‘Sex in the City’, the symposium will offer perspectives on different aspects of safer sex and sex crimes, while mixing in a bit of entertainment as well as providing giveaways.
Safer Sex Week has been very effective in promoting responsible sexual behaviour. It was first observed in 1994 by the Ministry of Health because of the need for increased emphasis on the message of protection during sexual activity. By dedicating a week of activities, the Ministry has been able to reach a large number of people with the message of safe sex.

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