Fight not over


As the National HIV/AIDS

Commission prepares to roll

out its 2014-2018 Strategic

Plan (NSP) for HIV/AIDS in

Barbados, its director Jacqueline

Wiltshire-Gay has urged

Barbadians to take new guard in

the fight against the scourge.

“We must be reminded

that the fight is not over. Not

until we are right at zero ––

zero new HIV infections, zero

HIV-related deaths and zero

HIV/AIDS-related stigma and

discrimination,” she said during

Images Of Hope, an HIV/

AIDS perspective at the Lloyd

Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Hosted by the HIV

Awareness Group in the

Ministry of Tourism and

International Transport, the one-and-halfhour-

long multimedia presentation, featuring

music, dance and monologue, was staged last

week to mark the ministry’s ten years

of involvement in the National

AIDS Programme.

Wiltshire-Gay revealed that the

commission was presently re-examining its

own role in what she deemed the new face

of the HIV epidemic in Barbados.

“We intend to refocus our prevention

strategies and concentrate more strongly

on expanding the reach of the NSP into

previously unengaged and under-engaged

segments of the population and communities.

The commission will be primarily focusing

on behavioural change, social justice and

monitoring and evaluation while engaging an

expanded civil society response to HIV in

Barbados,” she further revealed, explaining

that in terms of the social justice component,

the commission had recognized that human

rights, like gender, was a cross-cutting theme.

“We continue to adopt a rights-based

approach in [our] HIV response. Rightsbased

solutions may or may not require legal

strategies that are grounded in and gain their

legitimacy from the inherent human rights

recognized in international law, as minimum

agreed standards to maintain human dignity

and so reduce the levels of HIV-stigma and


“Our NSP 2014-2018 will take

guidance from the United Nations

Political Declaration of June 2011

as well as the UNAIDS Investment

Framework. I am confident that such

synergies will prove to be critical to the

development and eventual implementation

of the NSP 2014-2018, and to ensure the

involvement and buy-in, of key stakeholders,”

Wiltshire-Gay said, noting that the aim was

to have wide consultation in this process.

In his remarks, Minister of Tourism

and International Transport Richard Sealy

reaffirmed Government’s and his ministry’s

commitment to continued collaboration with

all relevant stakeholders in the fight against

HIV/AIDS “. . . to ensure the work of the last

ten years of the programme was not in vain”.

“Even though we may not have necessarily

the same level of resources . . . whether

or not we get another World Bank loan or

any other agency, the point is we will still

continue to stretch the creativity envelope to

see that we are involved in this fight in a very

significant way.

“I too, like [the director of the NHAC]

would love to see the day when this disease

is no longer a threat to our population and

we do get to zero, with no new infections

or deaths. It is perfection, as one might

say, which is not considered powerful in

our mortal world; however it can only be

possible if we can cooperate especially with

respect to behavioural change,” he said.


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