Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

Prevention/Epidemiology
Awareness of AIDS on Parade: Carnival Festivities in Caribbean Will Carry Message of Safe Practices

February 9, 2007

When South Floridians of Caribbean heritage travel to the islands for Carnival celebrations this month, activists in the region are hoping they will help build AIDS awareness.

"It's an important time for them to reinforce the need for safe practices," said Dr. Karen Sealy, director of the UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team. "They also can have a very vital role in breaking through the stigma that's still a problem in our countries. They're exposed to more. They can be important educators for their families and friends." Sealy spoke last month at a conference of Caribbean journalists from media organizations that have pledged to intensify HIV/AIDS programming over the next year.

During Carnival, AIDS awareness groups will use songs, dances, and parade floats to spread the safe-sex message. Condoms will be widely distributed for free.

The Caribbean has the highest HIV/AIDS rate outside sub-Saharan Africa, with young people, especially young women, the fastest-growing segment of new cases. Sealy and other experts said infections in the region could either plummet or climb dramatically. Infection rates have fallen in Haiti and other countries, but the overall rate is still roughly 2 percent, the same rate Africa had just over a decade ago before a sharp increase.

Last year, some 19,000 people in the Caribbean region died of AIDS; some 27,000 others became newly infected. "We are facing some very chilling numbers that indicate the very future of the Caribbean is at stake," said Dr. Amery Browne of the Trinidad National AIDS Coordinating Committee.

These days, more young people in the islands are getting safe-sex messages in schools and on teen-oriented TV channels such as MTV and BET, which are available throughout the region.

Back to other news for February 9, 2007

Excerpted from:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale)
02.04.2007; Tim Collie




This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:
http://www.thebody.com/content/art39912.html

General Disclaimer: TheBody.com is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through TheBody.com should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.