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May 25, 2018

Youths Talk HIV/AIDS

The 2017 report on HIV by the Ministry of Health is pending, but the 2016 statistical data shows that there were two hundred and twenty-five new infections reported for that year. One hundred and four persons died of HIV-related conditions in 2016. There is also an estimated three thousand six hundred and sixty-five persons living with HIV; one thousand three hundred and fifty-three of those persons are receiving anti-retroviral drugs up to December 2016. Using the data available, in November 2017, the National Aids Commission targeted a widespread demographic of young people; sharing information about HIV and how it affects them. Today, youths from Dangriga, Cayo and Belize Districts converged at the Gateway Youth Facility in Belize City for an initiative to further sensitize them on the issues surrounding risky sexual behavior. These specific areas were selected because the data shows that persons between the ages of fourteen and twenty-nine are primarily are affected by HIV/Aids. Communications and Programs Officer Arthur Usher explains:

 

Arthur Usher

Arthur Usher, Communications & Programs Officer, NAC

“We have young people from the three highest HIV burdened areas in the country which is Dangriga, Cayo/San Ignacio area and Belize City. So it was based on data and we are looking at these areas. And we are saying look, young people between fifteen and twenty-nine were at most risk. So we decided to bring them together and give them the information and tools to affect how they make their decisions. “That speaks to the different areas that are affecting young people. In terms of age, race, socio-economic, whether or not they are out of school, the early stages of sexual practices and how they go about the prevalence and these things. So all that information is being fed to them in a palatable way that they can influence how they move with it. Our aim today is that that information is internalized and then they can also take that back to their communities and their families and friends.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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