HIV/AIDS, an undeniable cloud that has been plaguing the world for years is becoming Belize’s ultimate worst nightmare. The illness is notoriously known for having no cure and people infected with the disease eventually succumb to the disease. As a result, the National AIDS Commission held a recent meeting at the Town Hall, where they re-enforced a revitalized group of volunteers that committed themselves to continue with the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in San Pedro.
During the meeting, many matters and issues were discussed and the committee is proud to announce its board of directors. Felix Ayuso was re-elected as president, Flora Ancona, Treasurer; Terry Molina was appointed as the Commission’s secretary. The remaining committee members are: Atlantida “Tanta” Eiley, Miss San Pedro Lety Lara, Edith Miranda, Lety Castro, Matias Chuck, and Abbi Guillen. Following recommendations from the National AIDS Commission (based in Belize City), the island group immediately put together a series of events/activities to promote awareness during the month of November, leading to World AIDS Day on December 1st.
Because of the severity of the situation, early awareness, preventative measures and caring for people who live with the illness are the main priorities. As of November 8th, the San Pedro AIDS Commission will be conducting various activities which will include: a student outreach program, movie day, the filming of a local television ad, a condom party, rapid HIV/AIDS testing and other activities. One of the biggest activities that the commission has accepted to partake in is the joining of the WIN-Belize (Women issues Network) Torch Run 2005 that will be held on November 24th. The main focus of the torch run is to increase awareness about the epidemic; to give hope to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS; to get the attention of policy makers and the government to invest larger capital into HIV/AIDS prevention. The torch will be carried through the principal streets of town, which will be a symbol of our desires to fight and eliminate the social issues and stigma of the disease.
The general public is reminded that the San Pedro AIDS Commission is made up solely of volunteers and the members have a genuine interest in bringing awareness and education about this deadly pandemic. The Commission depends on the community to carry out projects and is grateful for the past support it has received from the local population. Nevertheless, all donations are more than welcome to continue exercising activities, seminars, and ensure that everyone is aware of the epidemic.
The San Pedro AIDS Commission invites everyone to support these activities and also extends an open invitation to any person interested in becoming a part of this group. Donations are also much needed, for more information please call Felix Ayuso (622-3543), Flora Ancona (226-4500) or Terry Molina (622-7899).
Remember, the HIV/AIDS is increasingly serious and although the disease continues to be concentrated in high risk populations like Belize City, it is becoming generalized in some areas, including the Cayes. Fortunately, we still have time. Prevention & Awareness is key!
On behalf of The San Pedro Sun and the community, hats off to the committee and the commission for a job well done and keep up the great work!