Brighter prospect for HIV positive persons

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Things are looking up for those who have tested positive with the HIV virus. They now have access to a special fund – just for them.

The announcement was made in a message delivered by Head of the Ministry of Health's HIV/STI Programme, Dr. Kevin Harvey on behalf of Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, at the launch of World AIDS Day and the HIV/STI Programme's new anti-stigma campaign on Tuesday at Jamaica House in Kingston.

Mr. Spencer highlighted statistics, which show that a number of persons were missing their clinic appointments and their antiretroviral treatment because of lack of bus fare to go to the clinics or a lack of food to take with the medication.

"We have taken steps to address this through an income generating project, which was funded as part of the Global Fund ( to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria) Round 7 Grant to the tune of $70 million. This initiative targets persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in low income community settings. It will cater to the self-identified social support needs of these persons in order to improve economic well-being and sustain reliable sources of income," he informed.

Mr. Spencer said the National AIDS Committee will serve as a major recruitment arm through its 14 branches island wide, along with certain entities, including non-governmental organisations with a proven track record of working with persons living with HIV/AIDS and other vulnerable groups.

Grants will be given to an association or group of persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, an individual living with or affected by the virus or an individual whose situation makes him vulnerable to contracting the virus.