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Eye on HIV

Actors rehearsing.

by Kimberley Cummins

Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome are real.

On Saturday, September 1 and Sunday, September 2 the Lighthouse Foundation will highlight the reality when they host Redemption of Me.

The production is the first for the one-year-old charity. Speaking with Barbados TODAY via telephone last evening, director and lead actor, Simon Alleyne, explained the play was about a young man who contracted the HIV.

The production follows him as he struggles to live a “normal” life after the diagnosis and as he tries to “manage” his new circumstances he is faced by discrimination, scrutiny and judgement.

Patrons will have to wait until this weekend to find out how his church helped or did not with the transition and much more of the saga as it unfolds.

Alleyne, who is also founder of the LHF, said that he hopes after the audience had seen the production that they leave the Combermere School hall with greater knowledge of the epidemic and not just see it as a disease contracted by prostitute and homosexuals. He wants them to realise that the disease does not only affect the victims but as well their families.

No death sentence

“We want people to know that when you contract HIV it does not mean it is the end of your life and that you can’t live to make a contribution to society. The main thing the play shows to every action there is consequence and having unprotected sex he contracted HIV. I want them to realise that HIV is out there; in their lifetime they will meet someone with HIV.

“HIV is not as remote from a person as they think. Some of us have this idea that if you are a bulla you gine get AIDS and dead, they don’t say you is a girls’ man you gine get it and dead. They believe it won’t happen to them.

“HIV is real and they need to make the right choices,” he said.

Redemption of Me was written by Jason Carmichael. Its aim is to promote abstinence, condom use and fight against stigma and discrimination while also promoting education on the dreaded disease.

Part of the proceeds will be donated to the HIV/AIDS Food Bank and barrels will be placed in the Major Noot Hall at Waterford, St. Michael. Patrons are encouraged to bring toiletries and non-perishable items to donate.

Alleyne added that based on funding, the foundation’s aim was to make the play into a feature film to be produced next year.

When LHF was established, its mantra was to use community projects and the performing arts to educate the public about major social issues such as: HIV, AIDS, cancer and other non-communicable diseases and the environment.

The play starts at 7 p.m.

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