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Nov 29, 2019

World AIDS Day 2019: Communities Make the Difference

World AIDS Day is held each year on December first. It is an opportunity to celebrate and support global efforts to prevent new HIV infections, increase HIV awareness and knowledge, and support those living with HIV. This year, the focus is on communities that help to make the difference for those living with HIV. Since December first falls on a Sunday, the National AIDS Commission observed the global event today across the country. We stopped by the Digi Park this morning for the activities in Belize City. Andrea Polanco reports.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Communities make the difference”. It is an opportunity to recognize the critical role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response. The National AIDS Commission says that today’s observance of WORLD AIDS DAY brings together a number of community partners because their work is critical to addressing this epidemic, especially at a time when there is reduced funding which impacts services and advocacy for HIV/AIDS communities.


Anellie Paredes

Anellie Paredes, Communications Officer, National Aids Commission Secretariat

“From a mental aspect when you are first diagnosed with HIV, who do you turn to for advice or even telling your stories. So, that is why we have the other organizations out here for who they can go to; who they can speak with to get advice on self-acceptance that my life will change and I need to be aware of the NCDs that will affect me because my immune system is a bit weaker than the average healthy person. That is the reason why we have organizations out here and it is also a way for us to develop a private-public partnership because our global fund is in a transitional stage, so global fund will not be around forever and we want to have these organizations onboard for when that time comes.”


One of the partners at today’s open day is the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center. They are offering the rapid testing. It is quick and easy. You give your personal information and a quick prick on the finger collects a blood sample that is used on the strip. Laverne Marin explains the services when taking a rapid test.


Laverne Marin

Laverne Marin, Social Worker, Voluntary Counseling & Testing Center

“For the person who is non-reactive, we talk about remaining non-reactive. For the person who unfortunately tested reactive, we explain that is not the positive test. There are other tests that need to be done for the confirmation. The person who is reactive is given the opportunity to do quarterly their physical. People prefer the concept of the physical, so we are looking at the heart, liver, kidney functions, as well as the viral load and CD4 testing. The process is only five minutes for the testing portion of it. Having done the testing here, you sit with a counselor and get your results within that period of time.”


A series of similar open day displays were carried out across the country as the National AIDS Commission observed World AIDS Day activities, in place of Sunday, December first. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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