Jamaica Red Cross. 40 p.
Beckford, Gillian
Hue, Lois
Jamaica Red Cross
Many challenges have been encountered in the response to HIV and AIDS, not the least of which is the impact of stigma on the lives of people infected as well as those otherwise affected. We recognize that a multi-pronged approach is necessary in any effort to combat this disease and propose that explicit sensitization training and anti-stigma measures are a critical component of any successful HIV&AIDS education or elimination program. Working with people living with HIV & AIDS (PLWHA) has been a precious, most invaluable experience. While frustrating and often painful, this first-hand experience has been critical in identifying the source of, and prioritizing the many challenges perceived by the affected. Thus, the enterprise is ripe with potential for solutions. From these interactions we have learned how we can lay a better educational foundation to dispel the myths, promote better attitudes and reduce discriminatory behaviours in an effort to enhance the quality of life for those living with HIV and AIDS. Education by itself appears to have some potential to address the problem. But we posit that education requires a multi-dimensional approach that must include the affected population. In consultation with members of the Jamaica Network for Seropositives (JN+), the Jamaica Red Cross has designed a set of strategies. These strategies, it is hoped, would begin to make a difference in reducing discrimination. Drawing on the experiences of persons who daily lived the ignominy of exclusion, derision and hate, a project was developed that would not only highlight the current status of stigma-related outcomes but recommend alternatives to reduce social discrimination.
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