The Intervention Campaign
In Belize, there has been growing national recognition of the need to complement the health-related services that it provides with increased measures of prevention and epidemic reduction. The latter includes indirect and direct interventions in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Given the high estimated adult prevalence rate of HIV and AIDS within Belize’s relatively small population, if more is not done, soon every person will not only know someone who has HIV, but also someone who has died of AIDs.
The various issues include lack of knowledge and understanding about the causes of the disease in general, alongside culturally driven prejudices and beliefs that worsen the spread and the outcomes of the disease once it is contracted. In particular, the factors of assumptive male physical dominance, socially acceptable gender disparity, and the general acceptance of sexual and gender-based violence are all contributing substantially to a rapidly increasing rate of prevalence and deaths among women and children, and hence within the general population as well.
In contemplation of this, each year, Mrs. Simplis Barrow partners with the National Aids Commission to assist in carrying out their mandate, that is, to reduce the incidence and spread of HIV/AIDS and to provide comprehensive, quality support for persons infected and affected by the epidemic. Mrs. Simplis Barrow has participated in several awareness-raising activities and has attended numerous HIV/AIDS-related forums organized by the Commission. She, in partnership with GILEAD Sciences Inc. and other organizations, has done numerous international presentations on HIV prevention and treatment strategies.
Her advocacy work includes speeches given all over Central America and the Caribbean. Eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2019 has particularly been one of Mrs. Simplis Barrow’s primary concerns.
By doing her part to mobilize others to know their status, take proper precautions and encourage those infected to access sustained antiretroviral therapy, the Special Envoy is optimistic that together we can reach our national goal of ending the epidemic by 2030.