JIS News

The HIV/STI Prevention and Control Programme at the St. Catherine Health Department will be carrying out HIV/STI sensitization meetings in Naggo Head and Thompson Town over the next four days, as part of activities to mark Safer Sex Week.
Community Relations Officer at the department, Dale Walker, told JIS News that the communities were being targeted, as they were considered to be “high risk” due to their high rates of teenage pregnancies, HIV and STIs, poor housing and sanitation and high unemployment.
The first meeting will take place in Naggo Head square in Portmore on Saturday, February 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Mr. Walker said that community peer educators and counsellors would be on hand to inform persons about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, mount displays, do condom demonstrations and distribute flyers with information on STIs and condom use.
He said the meeting would provide the opportunity for the peer educators “to interact with persons on the street and encourage them to practise safer sex.”On Monday, February 14 a similar activity will be held at the car wash area in Thompson Pen, Spanish Town beginning at 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Mr. Walker said that the two meetings would target young persons, especially young women between the ages of 15 and 19 years.
“According to statistics they are three times more likely to become HIV infected than boys in the same age group,” he informed.
Mr. Walker emphasized the need for persons living in the two communities to attend these educational sessions and be informed about various STIs.
“Many of us who are not infected or do not have relatives who are infected, we tend to be somewhat dismissive of it. It is something that everybody has to face. We have to learn to deal with it, because it is real and it is not going away,” he stated.
Safer Sex Week is being observed in St. Catherine from February 7 to 14 under the theme, ‘Women – Smart, Sexy and Safe’.

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