HIV/AIDS awareness campaign to be stepped up during music festival in Dominica

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AIDS news by Malaika Laurent, Caribbean News Net, 9 Oct 2006ROSEAU, Dominica: A campaign to limit wanton sex practices, most common during festive seasons, will take place during the World Creole Music Festival in Dominica; to protect both locals and visitors from transmission of the HIV/AIDS virus.

Statistics indicate that HIV in the Caribbean is the second highest in the world. Its prevalence rate exceeds 2% of the population in five countries, and AIDS has become the leading cause of death among adults aged 15-44 years in this region.

“We’re looking at CSME and we are not immune to HIV,” said Julie Frampton, the Co-ordinator of the National AIDS Co-ordinating Unit in Dominica. She was speaking at the launch of the programme in Roseau.

“Whether we want to accept it or not, persons do have flings on times like these. We need to be able to ensure that we keep our people HIV free; provide the environment that will remind them that whatever you do, you need to live with the consequences because one small moment of pleasure can result in a lifetime of misery,” Frampton said.

The HIV/AIDS Unit is working alongside the Dominica Festivals Commission (DFC) and Scotia Bank to intensify public awareness during the three nights of the festival and other activities surrounding Dominica’s 28th Independence celebrations.

Educational material and condoms will be distributed to patrons at no cost during the festivities.

Val Cuffy, Executive Director of the DFC is very supportive of the collaboration between the DFC and the National HIV/AIDS Co-ordinating Unit.

He said that the DFC will encourage the performing artistes, including headliners Wyclef Jean and Shaggy to join in the public awareness campaign.

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