World AIDS Day: Removing the stigma in Jamaica through public awareness

Many communities in Jamaica are currently plagued by HIV/AIDS because there is still a huge stigma around the disease either because of misinformation or the lack there of. In a small community called Maidstone in Manchester and also surrounding communities, AIDS is “taking over”, victims are so afraid to go to the clinics to be tested and or treated. This leads to worsening of the condition or in most cases spreading and eventually death of the host. In clinics where there is an HIV tracking system, such as the Mandeville Hospital STD clinic, the disease can be traced from hosts to new victims, but not all the victims will come to get tested and will only know that the disease is present in their body when the symptoms start to show or when the host, if not treated succumb to the disease.

More young girls are contracting the HIV virus, simple because they’re new to sexual intercourse, promiscuity plays a huge role as poverty forces children to entertain more men without adequate knowledge of the risks associated with these practices. Children as shocking as it sounds are engaging in unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex. Boys are also included with the rampant rise of homosexuality in Jamaica and the staggering fact that older, richer homosexuals prey upon vulnerable needy boys.

There is a case of a sixteen year old female, who prefers not to be revealed, contracted HIV and passed it on the numerous men including married men, who in turned passed the virus on to their wives without knowing. This sickening cycle continues as more individuals contract the disease until there is a epidemic. The disease moves from one community to another and soon the entire country is be at risk. This is the case in some African countries. People infected with the virus travel from one country to another and spread the disease. HIV is now pandemic as the entire world has to tackle this monster. This unfortunate circumstance needs to be curtailed though as HIV treatments are more prevalent which can not only minimize death of victims but also reduce the likelihood of transmission. In order for this to happen more public awareness campaigns should be held, targeting rural and inner city communities where the stigma is highest. Little or no education among other things are also factors influencing victims of the virus. Sometimes out of resentment, victims of HIV willingly infect others. HIV is a taboo topic, similarly to sexual abuse, which is one if the ways in which HIV transmission occurs. Parents should teach children, even before being sexually active about the dangers of having unprotected sex; it only takes one time of having sex with an infected person to contract the disease. Schools should also place more emphasis on sex education and the risks of contracting STDS.

REMEMBER

  1. Every STD infection your get increases you chance of getting HIV.
  1. You must use a condom every time in every sexual act.
  1. Call the AIDS/STD Helpline

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