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Focus on youth during observance of World AIDS DAY 2009

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Contact: Amanda Faye Clarke

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 – The nation's youth are being placed in the spotlight during this year's observance of World AIDS DAY.

Director of the National AIDS Programme (NAP) in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sonia Alexander, says her department is attempting to engage more young people in developing proactive measures to ensure the management, and or prevention of HIV and AIDS.

It is against this backdrop, she says, NAP has once again collaborated with lifelong partners, the AIDS Action Foundation, Saint Lucia Planned Parenthood Association and the Red Cross, in facilitating youth oriented discussion sessions.

“The objectives of these sessions are to enable the youth to communicate openly in a non-threatening space with trained facilitators on issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. At the ministry, we want to gain insight into their perspective on the reproductive health services that we offer them.”

Under this year's Umbrella theme, “Universal Access and Human Rights”, the National AIDS Programme and its affiliate groups, implore the entire country to desist from the constant discrimination against persons living or affected by the virus, and as such has tailored activities specific to this topic.

“The Saint Lucia Red Cross will be doing sensitization and outreach in the community of Canaries. We have the Aids Action Foundation doing the sensitization of workers and marginalized young men, and also persons living with HIV—The AAF will focus on human rights,” Alexander said.

Activities marking the observance of World AIDS Day began in Saint Lucia this week.

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