Behavioural change vital in fight against HIV/AIDS
September 28, 2007

Behavioural change vital in fight against HIV/AIDS

Society’s norms must be changed by society.

That’s the view of The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP).{{more}}

According to Carl Browne, director of PANCAP, and Dr. Karen Sealy, head of the Caribbean regional support team on UNAIDS, behavioral change is the greatest challenge in the fight against the disease after stigma and discrimination.

The regional crusaders expressed the belief that greater education must be brought to smaller groups and communities, in an effort to encourage changes within the society.

Sealy believes that the stigma surrounding condom distribution has to be eradicated, where persons who are sexually active, regardless of sex or age, should be freely allowed to acquire the contraceptive without question.

Another issue that needs to be tackled is the promiscuity among men; where it is socially acceptable for a man to have more than one female partner at the same time.

Browne said that because of these and other social practices, the HIV/AIDS situation is creating very serious socio-economic problems in the region, already labeled to be second only to sub Saharan African in the per capita HIV/ AIDS rate.

However, Sealy said that a number of behavioral improvements have been observed, including greater condom use among youths and sex workers, and a decrease in the mother to child transmission rate.

Both Browne and Sealy agree that although these are positive signs in the fight against HIV/AIDS, there is still a lot of work to be done.

They also agree that the solution comes right back to stigma and discrimination, to which they say there should be zero tolerance. (JJ)