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    September 24

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Mixed views on HIV campaign

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 17 February 2011


There are mixed views on the new initative by the National HIV/AIDS Commission  (NHAC) who want Barbadians to wear a T-shirt with the message HIV-positive on the front. This new bold step by the Commission was revealed yesterday by chairman Dr Henrick Ellis who said the initiative is intended to get Barbadians to rid themselves of prejudices and embrace  people who are HIV positive. The NHAC feels that if Barbadians take up the challenge to wear the shirt they would be telling the victims that they have kissed “stigma and discrimination goodbye”. While some people said they would wear the T-shirt , others said they would not, stating that such messages should be left for pamplets and billboards. This is what some of the Nation’s online readers had to say when we asked them to share their views last night. Rosanne Brathwaite said: “My status is between me, my doctor and my lover, not the whole of Barbados. In a perfect world it would be great if there was no stigma against HIV/AIDS patients but sadly we live in this world”. Greta Marlin: “No I wouldn't. ... Let's leave these types of advertisements for pamphlets, books and magazines where they belong”. Jabarrie Prescod: “All things considered, it’s just a shirt. Something like this would go a long way in fighting discrimination”. Andre Kyte: “If it will help to get rid of the stigma why not”. Another Nation reader said: “I think people would wear it if it would help with the stigma and discrimination. The problem with it though is that people would be frighten that others think they have the virus because they are wearing it. We all know AIDS has no face so we can walk by a person with it and don't know so most people would look at the shirt as a highlighter and overlook the message altogether”. Kalisha Nurse said: “I am wearing the shirt proudly on Saturday. The shirt has nothing to do with being HIV positive but rather not judging others and recognizing that you don't know anyone's status and if you do, it should not change a thing” Leslie Harewood said: “Of course I would! Wearing the T-shirt is not a declaration of status, but rather an attempt to promote awareness. As clearly stated, the goals are to eliminate prejudice and promote awareness. HIV is here to stay until they find a cure (if ever).  So we as a country must acknowledge its existence and attempt to educate ourselves rather than remain ignorant. HIV is now a livable disease once identified and early and an appropriate medication regimen starts. So rather than being discriminatory of those who are positive, we need be supportive and educate and ourselves on modes of transmission and prevention. Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is POWER! Log on to the Nation's Facebook page for more comments


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