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Young People Challenged to Spearhead Fight Against HIV/AIDS

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Monday, August 12, 2002 - Young persons from Canaries and environs have become the latest recruits to have been drafted into the fight against HIV/AIDS. Their mission is to enlighten and influence their peers, using information that they were exposed to, at an HIV/AIDS Awareness Community workshop held on the weekend. The community’s youth are being called upon to become advocates and agents of change in the battle against this epidemic.

Parliamentary Representative of Anse La Raye/Canaries Hon. Cyprian Lansiquot, reminded participants that disciplined sexual behaviour is key to combating AIDS. “The fight against AIDS should not only be left to the government. It should not only be left to world health organisations but it is the responsibility of each of us. NYC or the Ministry of health can come here and keep community workshops year in and year out but unless we discipline ourselves, unless we conduct our sexual activities in an acceptable manner, AIDS will continue to plague us until we die,” he said to the gathering.

According to Director of the Bureau of Health Education, Edward Emmanuel, the Ministry of Health is cognisant that an aggressive campaign targeting the youthful population is essential, to stemming the spread of the AIDS virus. Emmanuel is calling on other sectors to play their part in the fight.

“We in the Ministry of Health has embarked on a strategy which is to expand our response to HIV and AIDS in St.Lucia and this expanded response requires the participation of all sectors of the community. It has to involve the individual, the family, the school, the church, service organisations including NGOs, the developmental sectors such as tourism, agriculture, education, health etc.”

Other workshops are expected to be conducted in the communities of Cul De Sac, Roseau and Soufriere throughout this month. The workshop was coordinated by the Bureau of Health Education and the National Youth Council.


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