JIS News

As government continues to put measures in place to fight HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the Ministry of Health has collaborated with the Sandals resort chain to install condom-dispensing machines at its properties across the island.
The machines have been affixed to the walls of the male restrooms in five of the Sandals/Beaches hotels with the latest installed at the Sandals Montego Bay Hotel on Wednesday (Dec.1).
In her address at the commissioning ceremony, which was held to mark World AIDS Day, Dr. Tamu Saddler, HIV/STI Coordinator for the Western Regional Health Authority, commended the Sandals hotel chain for joining the fight against the dreaded disease.
“It’s really no surprise that Sandals/Beaches hotels moved speedily ahead in installing five condom dispensing machines in their hotels across the region in the bold effort towards fighting and curtailing the AIDS epidemic”, Dr. Saddler said.
She noted that there was no place in the world that was not impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, with the Caribbean now second place to Sub-Saharan in Africa in terms of prevalence rate.
“This epidemic threatens 700 years of human development globally. Every sector in Jamaica, including the tourist sector, is affected in some way by the HIV/AIDS disease. The dependence of social and other sectors on tourism as an economic mainstay, emphasises the need to protect and maintain the quality of the product”, Dr. Saddler pointed out.
Turning to the collaborative efforts of the Health Ministry and the tourism sector to control the spread of HIV, Dr. Saddler stressed that this was paramount and must continue to be given priority, as “HIV/AIDS is not just a health problem, but a problem linked to the country’s national development”.
“We are hoping that by instituting programmes such as the work place programme at the Sandals/Beaches hotels, and increasing access to condoms, we can at least have an impact on the areas of education and prevention efforts”, Dr. Saddler stated.
The Ministry of Industry and Tourism is one of the lead ministries facilitating the HIV/AIDS Awareness Programme, which is part of the National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS.

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