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The Cayman Islands Red Cross (CIRC) and Ministry of Health and Wellness (MHW) Mark 20 Years in Fight Against HIV & AIDS in Cayman

Local News 29 Nov, 2023 Follow News

L-R Child Protec0on Manager CIRC (Dr Shreya Nauhria), Chief Officer MHW (Nellie Pouchie), Hon. Minister of Health and Wellness (Sabrina Turner), Director CIRC (Jondo Obi)

As the world commemorates World AIDS Day on December 1, the Cayman Islands Red Cross (CIRC) proudly reflects on two decades of unwavering collaboraJon with the Ministry of Health & Wellness (MHW) in the baMle against HIV & AIDS. This longstanding partnership has not only made significant strides in raising awareness and providing support but has also prioriJzed the health and well-being of teenagers and young people within the community.

Since the incepJon of this vital alliance in 2002, both enJJes have worked Jrelessly to implement comprehensive iniJaJves aimed at educaJng and empowering teenagers in the Cayman Islands. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by this demographic, the partnership has been instrumental in fostering a culture of awareness, prevenJon, and support among Cayman’s youth.

The Honourable Minister of Health and Wellness Sabrina Turner stated that -

“The collaboration between the Ministry of Health & Wellness and the Cayman Islands Red Cross stands as a beacon of hope in empowering our youth to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health. Together, we are dedicated to not only raising awareness about HIV & AIDS but also dismantling the barriers of stigma and discrimination that are detrimental to our nation.

Through this partnership, we aspire to build a future where every individual can access comprehensive education and support, fostering a society that prioritises the well-being and dignity of all, she added.

As Minister for Health & Wellness, I commend the Cayman Islands Red Cross for the tremendous work they are doing and have done these last 20 years. Our young people are not merely the hope for tomorrow; they are our citizens of today. We must address their needs in a holistic, inclusive, and accessible manner. Comprehensive education is essential for the empowerment of all people, no matter their age, but by starting early we can make a greater impact on the health and wellness of the nation.”

Key Achievements Over 20 Years:

Comprehensive EducaBon Programs: The collaboraJon has spearheaded numerous educaJonal programs in schools and community centres, delivering accurate and age-appropriate informaJon about HIV & AIDS to teens and young adults. Workshops, seminars, and interacJve sessions have equipped young individuals with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions regarding their sexual health.

Youth-Focused Outreach Campaigns: Targeted outreach campaigns have been a cornerstone of the partnership’s success. These iniJaJves have uJlized various mediums, including social media, to reach teenagers where they are, fostering open conversaJons about HIV & AIDS, reducing sJgma, and encouraging regular tesJng.

Access to ConfidenBal Counseling and TesBng Services: The Cayman Islands Red Cross, in collaboraJon with the Health Services Authority, has facilitated access to confidenJal counseling and tesJng services for residents of the Cayman Islands.

These efforts have been facilitated year-round at the Red Cross, and in the community during special events. This commitment to privacy aims to create a safe space for individuals to seek guidance and know their status.

Peer EducaBon Programme: The “Together We Can” HIV and AIDS Peer EducaJon programme, which ran from 2002-2012, helped to establish peer support networks within schools and communiJes. This empowered teenagers to engage in open conversaJons about HIV & AIDS, sex, sexuality, and consent- among other topics- reducing the fear of judgment and encouraging responsible behaviour.

The Director of The Cayman Islands Red Cross Ms. Jondo Obi stated that -

“As we commemorate World AIDS Day, the Cayman Islands Red Cross would like to thank the Ministry of Health and Wellness for two decades of support in the global fight against HIV and AIDS. Our enduring commitment to this cause has not only spanned years but has also transformed lives.

Today we take pride in the foresight of invesPng in youth educaPon, parPcularly in peer educaPon, as those we trained two decades ago now stand as a testament to the lasPng power of knowledge in the Cayman Community.

These once-youthful advocates have become an integral part of the local workforce, carrying forth the torch of awareness and compassion.

As we acknowledge the progress made, we recognize the importance of conPnuing our efforts in educaPng the next generaPon. It is through knowledge that we dispel myths, break down sPgma, and empower communities.”

The Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Cayman Islands Red Cross invite the community to join in the fight against HIV & AIDS on the World AIDS Day by ge`ng tested and supporJng iniJaJves that aim to create a future free from the impact of HIV & AIDS.

Key Achievements for 2023

• In 2023 Cayman Islands Red Cross has delivered awareness sessions on HIV & AIDS and Sexually TransmiMed InfecJons (STIs) at various governmental and non-governmental youth focused organizaJons such as Cayman Islands Crisis Centre (CICC), University College of Cayman Islands (UCCI) and Passport2Success (P2S). More than 150 teenagers and youth have parJcipated in these sessions. The age group of the aMendees was between 15-21

• The Cayman Islands Red Cross in partnership with the Health Services Authority (HSA) Cayman Islands provide HIV & AIDS tesJng FREE of cost to the residents of the Cayman Islands. The tesJng is conducted every third Tuesday of the month from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Cayman Islands Red Cross Headquarters (Huldah Avenue)

• The Cayman Islands Red Cross provides awareness sessions on HIV & AIDS and STIs during lunch and learn sessions to corporates upon request.

About World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day, observed on December 1 every year, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died from AIDS. The day is dedicated to raising awareness, combaJng sJgma, and advocaJng for comprehensive HIV & AIDS prevenJon, treatment, and care.

For More InformaBon

To get more informaJon about our lunch and learn corporate sessions or addiJonal informaJon about our HIV & AIDS Awareness and EducaJon acJviJes please contact our Child ProtecJon Manager Dr Shreya Nauhria at childprotecJon@redcross.org.ky

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