Focused on eradicating HIV discrimination and stigma throughout the Grand Bahama community, HIV/AIDS Survivors Benefit (HASB), is set to launch it Positive Impact Initiative on March 31, with a free forum in Eight Mile Rock.
The goal of Positive Impact, which is funded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), is to eradicate discrimination and stigma through education; and to that end the University of The Bahamas (UB) and the Grand Bahama Healthcare Services (GBHS) have volunteered to assist with this initiative.
President and founder of HASB, Kevin Thompson-Delancy believes that the continued discrimination as it relates to HIV is a direct result of a lack of HIV education and awareness.
“So, our primary objective through launching Positive Impact is to provide information that will educate the citizenry, because as it stands today, persons cannot find employment to provide for themselves or their families due to their HIV status, and others are scorned and looked down on by society.
“Therefore, our response or solution is to engage, educate and empower the Grand Bahama community with HIV education, through informative sessions – forums, workshops, social media campaign – and the like, that will target youth and adults,” Thompson-Delancy explained.
“Our hope is for the public to learn the truth about the disease, how it is contracted, prevention methods and benefits of taking your medication on time, if you are living with the virus.
“Just because a person has the virus, it doesn’t mean that that individual should be treated inhumanely,” he added.
Thompson-Delancy noted that discrimination and stigma, in most cases, can be even more deadly than the virus. “Therefore, we seek to show that through education, love, compassion and selflessness we not only have the tools for a better tomorrow, but we can all live healthier lives.
“March 31 is the official launch date of Positive Impact and we have scheduled a free forum for the Western District. The forum is set for Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Sea Grape beginning at 7:00 p.m.
“Then on May 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. there will be a one-day workshop at the Pelican Bay Hotel, under the theme ‘Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS and Occupational Safety and Education. And, May 21 at 6:00 p.m. we are set to host the annual International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at the historic St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church in West End, Grand Bahama.”
Thompson-Delancy noted that every event was planned with educating the Grand Bahama community, in mind.
Additional informative programs are on the agenda, he disclosed, however, those dates and times will be announced in upcoming weeks.
“We want to thank AHF, UB and GBHS for stepping up to assist us in bringing education and awareness on this most important matter to the forefront and to the community of Grand Bahama,” said Thompson-Delancy. “And, we encourage residents, young and mature, to come out to any or all of the events as we seek to educate and live up to our motto, ‘Touching lives, Bringing hope.’”
Published Thursday, March 9, 2017