Unfortunately, persons with disabilities are left out of the many initiatives by both government and the non-government organisations (NGO), to educate the population on the HIV/AIDS virus.
This exclusion was often due to a lack of knowledge on the part of programme developers about the specific needs of these persons. As a result, the project “Sustaining Life through HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control”, which is in its third phase, was developed and implemented.
At the end of phase 1of the programme which started in September 2006, two hundred (200) persons were trained to assist in presenting on HIV basic facts to persons with disabilities across the island. The second phase (July 2007 to May 2008) was geared towards educating two hundred (200) persons with disabilities also across the island. Phase 3 which commenced in August 2008, is in progress and has so far sensitized students between the ages of 14 – 18 from 48 secondary and junior high schools around the island.
The goal of the project is to foster behaviour change through the dissemination of information related to HIV/AIDS and to achieve this, much of the following objectives have been met.
- Twenty –four workshops have been implemented across the island where six hundred and fifty persons were trained in HIV basic facts.
- Provision of information in media accessible to persons with all types of disability; e.g. Sign Language and Braille.
- Developed greater collaboration among the disabled community in tackling the issue of HIV-AIDS; as well as Increased collaboration and widening of network between the Combined Disabilities Association and other agencies of and for person with disabilities.