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Nov 29, 2002

AIDS conference seeks proactive stance

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The first national conference on AIDS wound up today in Belize City and while there was little good news in the room, as News 5′s Marion Ali reports, some strategies have emerged.

Marion Ali, Reporting

With a strong consensus on the need to take a more proactive approach in the battle against AIDS, Abigail McKay from EmergentCorp, says her non-profit, human development company will work towards creating a national voice for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Abigail McKay, Principal Researcher, EmergentCorp

“What we will help people do is strengthen, organize and for the ones that exist, strengthen their support groups. These are support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS, so that’s what it is about, supporting them in any number of the issues they’re faced with–accessing housing, shelter, clothing, the whole thing about discrimination, we’ve heard this in the conference too, about the whole human rights aspect; that it is not just about health.”

But a virus does not respect political boundaries. Because Belize and Mexico share borders and other commonalities, Dr. Carlos Garcia of AVE de Mexico, an HIV/AIDS advocacy group, says we need to establish regional networks.

Dr. Carlos Garcia, AVE de Mexico

“There’s this Panama Puebla Planning that is taking a lot of importance in Mexico, and we want to be part of that effort, not only our governments, but civil society organizations. We want to help that way because it will change the dynamics in all the region, from Central America to Mexico.”

As far as people’s rights are concerned, McKay says dealing with people fairly, irregardless of their sexual preference, colour, or creed, is key in tackling the issue.

Abigail McKay

“There is not going to be a limit in terms of what the group is, what orientation there is, what kind of practices there is. It’s about being healthy, it’s about being safe in whatever sphere that you’re living your life. So it is not limited to straight people, to young people, to old people, to thin or fat people, no. It is about helping groups of people who want to help themselves, including gays, gays and lesbians, bisexuals, those who are experimenters; whatever the case may be.”

Marion Ali for News 5.

On Sunday, which is observed as World AIDS Day, Channel 5 will be participating in a two hour programme broadcast live out of Barbados. It is worth noting that the title of the show “They don’t play with me anymore”, is derived from a news story done last year by Jacqueline Woods. It explores the world of Maria, a six year old girl who contracted HIV as the result of a tainted blood transfusion, and will be featured in the regional broadcast. The programme airs at 8:30 Sunday morning.

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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