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Medical Officer with the Ministry of Health, Dr. Arthur Phillips addressing those present while Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Dr. Wendy Sealy looks on


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Love, Poetry & Song 2014 launched


By Marsha Gittens

“Stigma and discrimination remains the greatest barrier to effectively responding to HIV” in Barbados.

This was the disclosure of Dr. Arthur Phillips, Medical Officer with the Ministry of Health. He noted that, “stigma and discrimination hinders access to prevention awareness especially for those who are marginalised. It prevents persons with the disease from accessing care services. Such persons are therefore unable to be as happy and as productive as we would want.”

Dr. Philips, who was at the time addressing Monday’s Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS)’s Love, Poetry & Song media launch at Ilaro Court, also said that “HIV remains public health challenge” for the country.

“Despite noteworthy achievements over the last decade of an expanded national response, such as dramatic declines in morbidity and mortality associated with the disease, normal life expectancy of persons living with HIV due to the use of anti-retro viral drugs, a lot more needs to be done even as we grapple with limited resources.”

He added, “We need to promote greater awareness about optimal sexual health choices such as testing and counselling, partner reduction and the use of condoms.”
Meanwhile, addressing the launch Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Dr. Wendy Sealy lauded BGIS for their successful staging of Love, Poetry and Song which raised approximately $37, 000 and 20 barrels of food and personal care items for the HIV/AIDS Food Bank this year. She also made mention of the Commission’s continued effort to get to zero the number of new infections and stigma and discrimination.

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