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International News

Jamaica: Ministry Exploring PATH Benefits for HIV/AIDS Affected

January 22, 2009

The Jamaican government is investigating extending the benefits of its Program of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) to persons affected by HIV/AIDS. Funded by the Jamaican government and the World Bank, PATH provides cash grants to the country's most needy citizens, including children, elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers, and the destitute.

Approximately 27,000 people in Jamaica have HIV/AIDS. Robert Chung, senior director of the Occupational Safety and Health Department, said OSHD will start recruiting people with HIV/AIDS and their families into PATH after they file complaints about HIV-related job losses. Chung said his department is dealing with at least six cases involving HIV-infected people who have been discriminated against or fired from their jobs because of their HIV status.

"What we are saying is that [PATH] needs to be extended to the children of persons who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, especially if they have been separated from their jobs because they have been found to be HIV-positive," said Chung.

Chung explained that under the proposal, when an HIV-infected person files a complaint with the Ministry of Labor, the person's family would be evaluated. OSHD would "seek to have an agreement with PATH where from our referral they would be considered beneficiaries," he said.

Some children of HIV-infected people are already beneficiaries under PATH, but OSHD wants to formalize that part of the program, Chung noted. OSHD intends to present the plan to PATH. "We are in the same ministry -- the Occupational Safety and Health Department and the PATH program -- so we believe that in 2009 we will have the proposal," Chung said.

Back to other news for January 2009

Adapted from:
Jamaica Observer (Kingston)
01.21.2009; Taneisha Lewis

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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.
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Jamaica and HIV/AIDS
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