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‘Gallis’ culture helping in spread of HIV

KINGSTON — The “Gallis” (promiscuous male) culture is one of the many factors behind the spread of HIV in Clarendon, according to Georgina Daubon, a Southern Region Health Authority contact investigator.

Daubon, who spoke with The Gleaner at the Clarendon Health Department’s HIV/AIDS World AIDS Day Commemoration forum in May Pen last Friday, said along with the pervading gallis sub-culture, unprotected sex and stigma are the other components driving the spread of the disease that was first discovered in Clarendon in 1983; just one year after the first case of HIV was reported in Jamaica.

She also pointed out that the current HIV rate in the parish is in line with the national average, which is declining steadily.

“Clarendon has the highest rate of HIV infections in the SRHA’s geographical purview, but like the national average, the figure is falling steadily, thanks to our initiatives that are contributing to the decline in the parish’s figures,” said Daubon, while noting that she was not at liberty to disclose the specific figures.

She added that: “Nationally, up to 50 per cent of all those infected with HIV do not know that they are carrier of the disease. Therefore, the parish is in an aggressive preventive programme. We continue to offer free HIV screening and counselling, with a focus on prevention in some of the most vulnerable groups in Clarendon.” (Gleaner)

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