Antigua, Barbuda Government, UNFPA Hold Training Workshop for Groups To Promote Condom Use
The AIDS Secretariat and the Directorate of Gender Affairs of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, with support from UNFPA, earlier this week hosted a two-day workshop to train representatives from government ministries, and community and social groups to promote condom use, the Antigua Sun reports. The workshop, titled "Behavioral Change Communication Condom Programming," emphasized use of the female condom.
The AIDS Secretariat recently announced that the number of HIV cases among young females in the country is increasing. According to AIDS Program Manager Janet Weston, available data show that more young girls, some as young as age 14, are being diagnosed with HIV. Weston said the rise could be attributed to sexual relationships between young women and older men. The number of HIV cases among men and women ages 25 to 50 is nearly equal, but more men are being diagnosed with HIV in the 50 and older age group, the data showed.
"We need to do something to broaden the scope of our education, so more persons can go out and help us because we at the secretariat have to collaborate with others," Weston said, adding, "HIV can be prevented if people are educated and decide to change their behavior."
UNFPA has pledged to provide no-cost female condoms to national HIV/AIDS programs in the Caribbean in an effort to help governments achieve the United Nation's Millennium Development Goal of reducing HIV/AIDS by 2015. Weston said that the country has received about 5,000 of those condoms. UNFPA representative Dervin Patrick said the agency is pleased to be partnering with Antigua and Barbuda and will work towards enhancing its health programming (Smith, Antigua Sun, 4/29).