News from Mexico

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Jamaica's Tourism Model Shines in Mexico

By: Elizabeth Smith

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Renee Johnson, who is HIV Programme Officer for Jamaica's Tourism Product Development Company Ltd, presented a poster at the XVIIth International Conference on HIV/AIDS that is currently underway in Mexico City. Renee's poster demonstrated how work place policy, implemented by Jamaica's Tourism Sector has been an effective tool in not only stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS, but also heightening sensitivity around the entire issue. Her poster gave clear indication of a policy that includes offering successful education and support services; placing emphasis on voluntary counseling and testing, an activity widely acknowledged as one key method for stopping HIV transmission.

This policy supports an important point raised at the conference, that
huge numbers of people infected with HIV still do not know that they are indeed infected.

Renee explained and showed through the graph on her poster, that voluntary counseling and testing is on the rise within the tourism sector...and that is certainly good news for Jamaica.


Terryann Smith unveils an HIV horror story

By: Elizabeth Smith

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Terryann Smith-Frith, a Procurement Officer with the Jamaica Ministry of Health's HIV-AIDS Prevention and Control Project, articulated the dire need for change in civil society's response to HIV/AIDS and those living with the disease at Mexico City's staging of the 2008 International AIDS Conference.

Her research and poster presentation, that was viewed by an audience of thousands of delegates, including: scientists, politicians, sociologists and people living with HIV/AIDS gave an up to date look at the climate around HIV related stigma and discrimination that unfortunately permeates the Jamaican society.

Her startling data, that includes 2007 reports on the strong and very real link between HIV positive disclosure and the fear of being physically abused by stoning in Kingston, Jamaica, will drive the ongoing fight for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, to exist in harmony and be respected in their communities.

Many calls to end stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS have rung out throughout the halls of Centre Banamex, where the XVIIth International Conference of HIV/AIDS is being held.

The conference that began on August 3rd, winds up on Sunday August 8.


HIV in high numbers in the Caribbbean

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Mabel Bianco MD MPH, revealed these facts on the global prevalence of
HIV/AIDS via this graph and her excellent presentation. As a member of the international Women's Coalition, she showed great concern for the rise in infections in women and girls.

Also discussed in her presentation to journalists at the National Press Foundation's Journalist to Journalist pre-conference seminar last week, was the fact that the numbers now show a great increase in infections among women in the Caribbean and Asia.

The Caribbean now holds the number two position in the world for highest infections in women.

This she attributed to not only the biological predisposition to HIV that women have, since their membranes tear easily in the sex act, offering the HIV virus an opportune entry point; but also to issues of gender imbalance, violence against women and the ever growing realization that HIV is being transmitted within trusting relationships.