Planned Parenthood donates to persons living with HIV
December 27, 2013
Planned Parenthood donates to persons living with HIV

Persons living with HIV should have a healthy and balanced diet.

It is for this reason that the Planned Parenthood Association donated parcels of healthy food and toiletries to 25 HIV positive persons, during this Christmas season.{{more}}

When SEARCHLIGHT spoke with the director of Planned Parenthood, Verlene Saunders, she indicated that this initiative is taken on by the association every year, to help persons who are really in need.

She also stated that the food being donated was bought under the directives of a nutritionist.

“People who are HIV positive…have to eat in order to take their ARVs (Anti-retroviral treatment), so when we buy the food, we don’t just go out and buy. We use a shopping list that is given to us by a member of staff from the nutrition department,” Saunders explained.

Although the number of persons testing positive dropped this year, the director is encouraging persons to be vigilant and get tested so that they do not find themselves in a situation where they will need help.

“We may not always be able to do this either. We can help now, but we can also help better if you get tested, know your status, and protect yourself, so you don’t fall into the category of those who need help,” Saunders said.

“At this point in time, with all the partying and everything else, the Nine Mornings and all of that…it’s supposed to be clean fun, but there will always be those persons who will get caught up and would do things that they may regret after; so we’re just trying to encourage the public; if you haven’t had your status checked, it’s important to know your status, especially if your partner has been tested and you haven’t been tested. If you have been tested and your partner hasn’t been tested, then you should encourage your partner to come and if your partner has gone and you haven’t come, then you should come and get tested as well”.

Saunders noted that HIV testing is currently fairly free and that persons should take advantage of that opportunity.

“It’s important to know what your status is because persons get into relationships and after a little while, they don’t think that it’s necessary to use protection and they end up HIV positive or with a STI and you have regrets, so, we really just want to encourage people to continue to be tested,” the director said. “Over the year, we have only seen two positives…but two young people too many; that’s just too many”.

Of the 25 persons receiving parcels, 23 are adults while two are children.

Behaviourial Change Communication educator for Population Services International (PSI) Odinger Warner received the parcels of food and toiletries on behalf of the 25 persons.