Pageant contestants work to reduce HIV stigma

motherdaughterdelegatesAs part of the national HIV response, the National HIV/AIDS Commission, in collaboration with the organisers of the annual Mother and Daughter Pageant, has been working with contestants on an intervention to reduce HIV-stigma and discrimination.

Women and young girls are considered vulnerable groups within the context of the national AIDS programme and each of the five mother and daughter teams entering the contest were asked to design and pilot a project aimed at the reduction of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV in Barbados.

Last night at the Arthur Smith Primary School, Christ church, the couples presented their projects for judging.

Stigma and discrimination is of particular concern as it affects all aspects of the national HIV programme. It prevents people from coming forward to have HIV tests and from disclosing their HIV status to current or potential partners. Stigma and Discrimination also prevents persons living with HIV from accessing care, treatment or support.

The primary objective of the project was to develop an anti stigma and discrimination activity which educates, stimulates and motivates people to reduce or eliminate stigma and discrimination against PLHIV to be implemented either in the church, the workplace, community or family. Participants were asked to show evidence of both mother and daughter’s involvement in the project and both present the project to the judges.

Teams were encouraged to present their project as creatively as possible with the winning project being offered the opportunity to be incorporated into the National AIDS Programme. Winning participants may also be considered for the official designation of “HIV champions” within the National AIDS Programme. Judging the projects were representatives of the National HIV/AIDS Commission.

The 12th Mother and Daughter Show will be staged at the Graydon Sealy Secondary School, The Garrison, on Sunday. (DS)

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