September 16, 2011
Help coming for persons affected with HIV with launch of CARE SVG

People living with HIV and affected by the disease now have a functioning support group on which to rely. The Care Advocacy Reaching-out, Empowering (CARE) SVG group was officially launched on Thursday September 8, 2011.{{more}}

According to Vice President of the organization Winfield Tannis, the launch was held under the theme “Awakening St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the dangers of HIV.”

Tannis, giving remarks at the launching ceremony, stated that though the Vincentian populace knows about the facts of HIV/AIDS, there is still a mindset that “AIDS can’t touch me.”

He added that the group is grounded by the motto “We are all in this together”. The organization’s vision is to ensure that People living with HIV (PLHIV) in SVG are afforded their human rights with respect and dignity. The organization also seeks to reduce the stigma and discrimination attached to PLHIV.

Tannis added that CARE-SVG has a mandate to go to the “highways and byways” to ensure that HIV infected and affected persons are assisted in whatever way possible.

Minister of National Mobilization Augustus Stephenson, giving his personal experience with an infected friend, stated that at one point we have all discriminated against persons with HIV/AIDS. Stephenson emphasized that stigma of kind is a violation of the Human Rights of citizens. He added that his Ministry will collaborate with agencies to address issues of stigma and discrimination.

Pledging their support to CARE SVG, Dr. Del Hamilton of the National AIDS Secretariat stated that it was a pleasure to see the strengthening of the support group system in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Hamilton stated that CARE SVG will make sure that no one living with HIV will ever be alone again as it will allow persons living with HIV to come together to share their experiences, ideas, and most of all gain moral support from each other.

She stated that several benefits can be derived from the group, including assistance with adhering to medication, peer training and organization of campaigns on disease awareness.

Remarks also came from spokesperson of the organization Miss SVG 2011 Aviar Charles and Sidney Joseph who spoke about the PLHIV perspective. Programme Officer of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS alliance Kevin Ferrara also expressed his pride in seeing the CARE-SVG organisation officially launched.

The launching ceremony also featured singing from Aloma Cadougan who spread the message of safe sex with her song “Sleep with one Partner” and poetry by Urban Expression.(OS)