JIS News

Three new cases of HIV have been diagnosed in Portland since the start of the year, bringing the number of infected persons in the parish to 356 since the disease was first discovered in the island in 1986.
Winston Lowe, Sexually Transmitted Disease Contact Investigator for Portland, told JIS News that while the infected persons were of various ages and from different communities, most were in the age group 19 to 35 years. He noted that the infection rate was higher among males.
Mr. Lowe observed that there had been a steady increase in the incidence of the disease in the parish over the years, with 46 new cases diagnosed in 2003 and 62 new cases in 2004. He noted however, that there has been an appreciable decrease in the other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis and gonorrhoea.
Meanwhile, he said that the Portland Health Department would continue to aggressively pursue initiatives to control and reduce the spread of the disease in the parish.
These initiatives, he pointed out, included the distribution of condoms, conducting counselling sessions for young people, and the staging of outreach activities to sensitise the general public about the dangers of the disease and the need to halt its spread. He indicated that over 40,000 condoms were distributed by the Portland Health Department last year as part of the outreach effort.
Mr. Lowe informed JIS that the distribution of literature providing information about the disease was also undertaken regularly as part of the public education programme.

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