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Sep 28, 2004

Youths at centre of AIDS education

Story PictureWith little good news coming from statistics on the spread of AIDS in Belize, those charged with combating the disease continue to seek methods that will translate knowledge into action. And nowhere are those efforts more concentrated than among young people. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods has more.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Belizeans between the ages of fifteen and twenty-nine are those most at risk for contracting HIV and AIDS. It’s a troubling situation that prompted the Operation Positive Reinforcement to believe they can make a difference. Under the banner, ?Together We Can?, former gang leaders, and youth leaders armed themselves with the information and tips they will need to help fight against the deadly disease.

Herman Morris, Member, OPR

?A lot of the youth out here feel like this thing dah nuh fi they. But then why we the try implement this programme to the fullest it’s cause we know dah wah war; a war we di fight like nobody know who. So then by we the youths they di try get out there on the streets and reason with the youths they, I feel like they wah more understand we from where we di try come from and thing. That’s why we di get well educated with this so we could teach they more about it too.?

Kanes Nolberto, Youth Leader

?Today in our forum we found out the ways in which AIDS can be contracted. The myths and misconceptions that Belizeans on a whole have on AIDS.?

Ambassador for Children, Women, HIV and AIDS Dolores Balderamos Garcia, has that last year the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital saw two hundred and fifty-eight cases, which represents an average of twenty-one persons per month. It was also revealed that in 2003 HIV and AIDS ranked second among the top ten communicable diseases treated at the KHMH.

Douglas Hyde, Consultant, OPR

?Recently we realized that the rate of HIV/AIDS is going with our young persons and so we sat down and strategize that if we target our leaders on the streets, educate and train them, we thought that it would be one of the positive things for the youths in the streets.?

?The workshop looks directly at former and present gang leaders and youth leaders from the district. It’s a HIV/AIDS training and the idea of training these leaders to go back into their community and also work with the youths within their setting, it’s an education and prevention on HIV/AIDS.?

Louie Ganzie says he does not believe the work will be a challenge and he plans to pass on the information the only way he knows best.

Louie Ganzie, Member, OPR

?I am a musician so I will spread it through music and reason with my youths them cause we have to protect our life right here now. AIDS deh ya and we have to protect ourselves so I done know that the youths they di tek it in you know. But they need the teaching and we as man will spread it to them, you know.?

It is hoped the fifteen participants will now go into their community and speak with their peers about HIV and AIDS. Jacqueline Woods for News Five.

The workshop was sponsored by OPEC, UNFPA, Red Cross, BFLA, the National Aids Programme and Youth for the Future.

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