Persons living with HIV/AIDS are being encouraged to participate in support groups that are working towards reducing the level of stigmatisation against persons with the virus, in an effort to ultimately improve their outcomes.
The Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS Coordinator at the National Family Planning Board, Ainsley Reid, said that several initiatives have been undertaken to ensure that persons who are living with HIV are not disenfranchised.
“We created a programme called ‘The Positive Health Dignity and Prevention Curriculum’, and we use it to train persons who are now serving at different levels in the HIV response,” he said, adding that some are working as community facilitators, and others are representing their communities on various boards.
“We are currently partnering with the Jamaica Council of Churches to roll out an anti-stigma programme.”— Ainsley Reid
Reid said that his team also works closely with other agencies. “We are currently partnering with the Jamaica Council of Churches to roll out an anti-stigma programme which will deal with building the capacity of church leaders and congregants so that they can be agents of change in their communities,” he said.
Additionally, he said there is an ongoing programme with the Social Development Commission (SDC) where general community leaders are trained to influence conversations around social acceptance and working with people living with HIV.
The coordinator also shared that “another aspect of that programme is our work with the Office of the Public Defender to create more awareness around human rights and to influence how we treat each other from a position of dignity and respect.”