Honourable Damian E. Greaves
Minister for Health, Human Services & Family Affairs
World AIDS Day – December 01st, 2003
Live and let live. That is the theme of world AIDS day 2003. In fact, that is
what the fight against HIV/AIDS is all about: life! Protecting life. Preserving
life. Allowing others the right to choose how they would live.
It has been almost 20 years since the first case of HIV was reported in Saint
Lucia and we are now well aware of how HIV is spread and we know how to protect
ourselves. Abstaining from sex is the only way to protect ourselves 100% from
HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. But if we are in a relationship and
mutually decide to have sex, let’s try to be faithful to each other – let’s not
bring HIV into our relationships through infidelity and careless and unsafe
sexual behaviour. If we choose to have sex and are not 100% sure of our
partner’s HIV status, please let’s use a condom. Condoms have been around for
many years and are a “tried and true” method of protecting ourselves from HIV.
Condoms are scientifically proven to protect us from HIV and other STDs if we
use them correctly and each and every time we have sex.
But the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Saint Lucia is not only about protecting ourselves
and living a sexually safe and healthy life. The second part of this year’s
world AIDS day theme is “let live” which refers directly to the stigma and
discrimination that continue to pervade our society and cripple our ability to
control and ultimately stop the epidemic here.
The stigma of HIV and AIDS relates to deep taboos within our society. For many,
the disease has a strong association with prolonged illness, death, sex, and
drug use – issues that many of us find difficult to talk about openly. Along
with general discomfort about discussing these 'taboo' issues, many communities
are also dealing with high levels of ignorance, denial, fear and intolerance
about the disease itself. This potent combination can lead to rejection and even
aggression against people living with HIV. As a result, people with HIV have
been disowned by their families, fired from their jobs, asked to leave their
homes. They can face discrimination in receiving medical care. In extreme cases
they have even been physically attacked.
Stigma and discrimination can lead to depression, lack of self-worth and despair
for people living with HIV. But people living with the disease are not the only
ones endangered by this fear and prejudice.
Negative attitudes about HIV can create a climate in which people become more
afraid of the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease than of the
disease itself. When fear and discrimination prevail, people may choose to
ignore the possibility that they may be HIV-positive–even if they know they have
taken risks. And people may decide not to take measures to protect themselves in
fear that in doing so they could be associating themselves with HIV. All of this
helps to create an environment in which the disease can more easily spread.
Viv ék lese viv. Sa sé tém-la pou jounen HIV AIDS lanné sala. Sa sé ekzaktiman
sa batay-la kont maladi HIV/AIDS yé. Zafé potejé ék pwézévé lavi ek pou bay
lézót an chans pou chwazi ki mannyé yo vlé viv.
I ni pwéské ven lanné dépi pwémyé ka HIV positive wejistwé sent lisi, ék nou
tout kounét ki mannyé maladi-a ka simen ék mannyé nou sa potéjé lavi nou.
Lót bagay-la, nou sa fé sé, wésté san fwékanté, si nou pa vlé jwenn pyés maladi
sexual. Ek si nou adan an wilasyon, annou éséyé wésté epi yon moun. Mé si nou pa
asiwé si moun-la nou ni pa fidel…. Mwen ka konséyéw pou sevi condonm piski sé sa
ki pli méyé pou potijé kó nou kont maladi HIV/AIDS.
Zafé maladi HIV/AIDS pa ka sélman konséné maladi- a menm, mai i ka osi détwi
moun ki ka viv épi maladi-a pa atitid nou, pou sé moun sala.
Anchay moun ka bay moun ki ka viv épi maladi-a mové kout lann ék nou ka fé lavi
sé moun sala double difisil. Adan moun ka “fire” sé moun la an twavay yo, ék,
adan lafanmi ka jik tounen do yo asou fanmi yo menm ki ni maladi HIV/AIDS.
Sé vyé atitid salá ka anik mété pli lapéwéz an moun, ék diskwiminasyon ka
kontiné an tout fason.
The ministry of health, through technical assistance with carec has finalized
saint lucia’s first national strategic plan to fight HIV/AIDS. This first step
clearly represents commitment on the part of government to fight HIV/AIDS, in
particular, stigma and discrimination. The ministry of health, through the
national HIV/AIDS program will soon be instituting voluntary counselling and
testing, known as VCT, at health centres and clinics in every health district
around the island. Counselling and testing will be available free-of-charge in a
comfortable and confidential environment. Everyone is strongly urged to take
advantage of these free services if we are unsure of our HIV status and are
involved in or about to begin a sexual relationship with our partners. We may
want to talk to trained counsellors about our sexual behaviours and risk of HIV,
or just want to learn more about how we can protect ourselves from becoming
If we are infected, trained counsellors will connect us to a wide range of
confidential medical and support services, including access to free medicines to
fight HIV, known as anti-retrovirals, or ARVs. These ARVs help our bodies to
fight HIV and postpone the development of AIDS and enable us to live a long and
productive life. In addition, support services such as psychological counselling
and nutritional advice can further boost our immune system and facilitate good
It is our expectation that the availability of VCT in conjunction with the
provision of free ARV therapy will make it more likely that people will come
forward for HIV testing, learn their status, receive counselling and care, and
become more knowledgeable about preventing the spread of the virus. This
development will, in turn, significantly reduce the stigma and discrimination
surrounding HIV/AIDS and will allow us all to “live and let live.”
Minis santé ja fé an go plan pou goumen maladi HIV/AIDS. Bon; gouvidman ja pwan
pwemyé pa-a ék minis santé kay koumansé ekzamminasyon ék konsey volonté an tout
health centre ék clinic owon peyi-a. Sévis sala pakay koute pyés lajan ék i kay
fét adan an leviwonman ki konfótab ék sigwé. Minis la ka konséyé tout moun ki
andidan ében ki vlé koumansé an wilasyon epi an moun, pou pwan lavantaj sé sevis
sala éspwésiman si ou pa asiwé si (partner’w) fidel.
Si an ka ou positive, minis la ka báw bon sevis medical ék wimed kon anti-retrovirals
(arvs) ki kay wendé-w goumen kont maladi-a. Nou an minis santé ka kwé ki, si nou
bay sé wimed arv-a ék bay moun sévis pou konséyé yo, i kay wendé yo viv an pli
méyé ék pli long lavi ék tiwé tout diskwiminasyon owon maladi sala.
In closing, let me take the opportunity to thank all our partners in the fight
against HIV/AIDS in Saint Lucia. First, the national HIV/AIDS programme office
in taking the lead in providing VCT around the island and in beginning to
implement the critical elements of the new national strategic plan. I would like
to thank our partners in the NGO field for their continual hard work and
commitment, including the AIDS action foundation, planned parenthood, the
national youth council, the red cross, and the u.s. peace corps. I would also
like to invite new partners from the business community, tourism sector, service
clubs, youth and sports clubs, and women’s organizations to join the fight
And in particular, I would like to make special mention of the catholic church
and its initiative in creating a new task force on HIV/AIDS and its commitment
to voluntary counselling and testing, care and support, and in the elimination
of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.
HIV and AIDS have already touched every community on our beautiful island. I
challenge all of you, fellow saint lucians, to do your part in the fight against
HIV/AIDS to prevent this scourge from taking a firm grip on our families,
communities, and nation. Remember: live and let live.
Mwen ka pwan lokazyon-an pou wimésyé tout moun ék ogannizasyon ki ka wendé
goumen kont maladi HIV/AIDS an sent lisi. Pwemyéman, pogwanm nasyonnal pou
HIV/AIDS. Sa ka montjwé ki gouvidman ka pwan tout dé mach pou tiwé vyé katjil
moun ni kont moun ki ka viv ék maladia-a. Mwen osi ka wimésyé ogannizasyon kon
AIDS action foundation, planned parenthood, konsit jennés nasyonnal, kwa wouj,
peace corps lanmekwik ék tout lézót ogannizasyon biznis,touris, sevis volonté,
jennés en club, ék ogannizasyon fanm ki ka wendé goumen kout maladi sala..
Mwen osi vlé wimésyé legliz katolik an patikilé, pou sévis la yo ka ofé. Maladi
HIV/AIDS ja touché tout konmin an peyi nou ék mwen ka defyéw pou pa kité maladi
sala simen pou détwi fanmi nou, konmen nou ék bél peyi nou:sent lisi.
Chongé: viv ék lese viv ! Mési.