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JIS News

The Sergeant Ville Primary School in St. Catherine has emerged winner of the St. Catherine HIV/STI Awareness quiz competition, scoring a high of 37 points at the finals held recently at Cecil’s Restaurant in Linstead.
Second place went to St. Catherine Primary with 29 points while Ascot Primary placed third with 28 points.
The competition, which aimed to heighten students’ awareness of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, targeted primary school children. Over 80 students from 12 schools participated in four elimination matches held from June 21 to 24.
Coordinator of the St. Catherine HIV/STIs Prevention and Control Programme Winsome Keane-Dawes, told JIS News that come next year, more schools would be targeted. However, she noted that this would depend on sponsorship.
“This year, the sponsorship was not as good as I thought, but we were thankful. Some of the main sponsors were Norma Russell of JAMPET service station, Mothers, Shaw Park Hotel, Ken’s Patty Palace, Cristal Bakery and RBTT.
Mrs. Keane Dawes said she was grateful for the support from teachers and the guidance counsellors, who prepared the students. “Their response was magnificent,” she said, adding that behaviour change coordinators and staff of the health department also played meaningful roles in the success of the initiative.
According to Mrs. Keane-Dawes, the competition targeted grade six students, who would be entering high schools in September, where they would have to deal with peer pressure and their own growth and development.
Additionally, she said the competition was organized because of the increased incidence of sexual activity among pre-teens. “If we can promote abstinence before they start having sex, then I think we would have succeeded, because they would have been quite conscious and aware of all the consequences of sex,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Keane Dawes said that a sexuality workshop for high school students will be held this summer, to increase teens’ knowledge of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and to train persons to become peer educators at their schools, churches and youth clubs.
The one-week workshop will be held from July 11 to 15 at the GC Foster College in St. Catherine starting at 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Among the topics to be discussed are conflict resolution, problem solving and self-esteem.