AIDS in Belize

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S

Supafly

Guest
AYE! on mandatory testing, BH.

and am I the only one who thinks that the debate about AIDS in Belize is being managed at the level of the educated and intellectuals?

i think it is being controlled by the burgeoise and the proletarians are being left behind.
 
B

belizisimo

Guest
Supa, i agree with you. part of the problem is that the churches and some conservative elements of Belizean society don't want there to be a wider discussion of HIV/AIDS in Belize because they're uncomfortable talking about sex.

you saw the churches, and the Roman Catholic Bishop Martin in particular, recently make a public statements against condoms and their efficacy in preventing infection.

earlier this year, there was a public service ad that aired on Belizean TV during regular hours that contained facts about HIV and letting people know where to get more information. The Reporter newspaper wrote an article and an editorial decrying how inappropriate it was to broadcast this material.

i'm sorry but that is so assinine. how can information that can save lives be inappropriate for public consumption?

these people would rather people die for lack of information than let the dreaded word S E X be uttered in public. they need to grow up.
 
S

Supafly

Guest
fada di talk rass

Was he on TV spouting denouncing paedophile priests?

somebody needs to publicly call bull-**** on their self serving hypocritical mada rass.



:mad:
 

Belizeans.com

All ah we da Belizeans!
Staff member
Ministry of Health Announces Voluntary HIV Testing

Ministry of Health Announces Voluntary HIV Testing

09 December, 2003 - Belmopan
The National AIDS Programme/Ministry of Health has embarked on a
Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Program to decrease risk and
impact of HIV/AIDS through the delivery of efficient and effective
HIV/AIDS services including the comprehensive management of Persons
Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) with the financial support and
sustainability from the Government of Belize.

The first VCT Centre has been established at the Cleopatra White Health
Centre, Belize City, Belize. Vital components of this program involve
the following:

1. Pre-test Counselling
· Assessment of knowledge of transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS
· Assessment of high risk behaviour
· Development of a Behavioural Change Plan
· Medical examination for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
2. Laboratory testing for HIV and immediate results of HIV Status
3. Immediate Post-test Counselling
4. Continued Counselling and Support for HIV+ Individuals
· HIV and Nutrition
· HIV and Immune System
· Antiretroviral Medications and Side Effects
· Adherence
· Resistance
· Contact Tracing
5. Antiretroviral Therapy (based on CD4 Count and Clinical Signs)
· Adherence

The Government of Belize has provided the funds and the Ministry of
Health has procured Antiretrovirals and medications for Opportunistic
Infections for 200 Belizeans Living With HIV/AIDS. PLWHA with clinical
signs of AIDS and CD4 Counts between 350-200 cells/mm³ qualify to start
therapy. Any Belizean requiring medications will have access to free
ARVs.
It is estimated that approximately 500 Belizeans require ARV Therapy.
Belize was successful in its bid for Global Funds and will receive
US$1,298,884 in the first two years. Therefore, the remaining ARVs will
be procured through Global Funds to make available free and universal
access of ARVs for all Belizeans and at the end of Global Fund the
Government of Belize will provide these funds for sustainability of this
programme.

All Belizeans are invited to visit the Pro-Care and Treatment Center,
Cleopatra White Health Center, to access the VCT Services and to be
aware of his/her HIV Status with the finality of behaviour change,
breaking the transmission of HIV and the reduction of new HIV
Infections in Belize.

During this year the National AIDS Programme/Ministry of Health has
improved its HIV/AIDS Surveillance and its dissemination. One of every
three HIV+ Individual will develop Tuberculosis. This program has been
strengthened with a Clinician, guidelines, workshops, surveillance forms
and monitor and evaluation.

Healthcare workers involved in the prevention of the Mother to Child
Transmission (MTCT) of HIV improved their counseling skills, to convince
pregnant mothers to do their HIV Test, with their participation in a six
days HIV/AIDS Counseling Workshop. These five workshops were also
extended to healthcare workers involved in the Sexually Transmitted
Infections, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS Programs and also from the private
sector and non-governmental organizations.

CD4 levels and Viral Load are important laboratory tests for the
initiation of ARVs and also for the clinical management of HIV/AIDS.
Through the aid of the Japanese Embassy the Ministry bought a CD4
FACSCount System in 2002. Plans are presently underway to buy a machine
that performs both Viral Load and PCR. The PCR will especially assist
the MTCT Programme. Also laboratory diagnosis for opportunistic
infections will be strengthened in collaboration with CAREC.

Various guidelines were elaborated including:
· Guidelines for Occupational and Body Fluids Exposures to Bloodborne
Pathogens were developed for Healthcare workers and along with ARV
therapy have been disseminated countrywide.
· HIV/AIDS Counseling Manual
· Guidelines for the Clinical Management of HIV/AIDS
· Drug Profile for the Clinical Management of HIV/AIDS
· Operational Manual for the VCT Center

A Clinical Management of HIV/AIDS Workshop for Doctors and Nurses was
conducted in 2002 and plans are presently underway to increase the
capacity of our Internists and Pediatricians at each district level for
the Clinical Management of HIV/AIDS in February 2004.

The National AIDS program is presently engaged in two researches:
1. In collaboration with the National Institute of Health, USA, and the
Belize Association for Improved Healthcare the Ministry of Health is
involved in a study that provides same day HIV results at specific VCT
Sites. This investigation also serves as a pilot for the Ministry for
its adoption after this study is completed.
2. With PASCA and other agencies the Ministry of Health has initiated a
multicenter study of STI/HIV Prevalences and Socio-behavioral patterns
among specific populations in Belize.

The immediate next steps of the National AIDS Programme/Ministry of
Health, after monitor and evaluation of this first centre, includes
having VCT Centres with the delivery of efficient and effective HIV/AIDS
services including the comprehensive management of People Living with
HIV/AIDS in the Stann Creek, Cayo and Orange Walk Districts in that
order due to the number of infections.
 
S

Supafly

Guest
http://www.belize.gov.bz/pressoffice/press_releases/09-12-2003-2972.shtml

Ministry of Health

Ministry of Health Announces Voluntary HIV Testing

Belmopan - 09 December, 2003.
The National AIDS Programme/Ministry of Health has embarked on a Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Program to decrease risk and impact of HIV/AIDS through the delivery of efficient and effective HIV/AIDS services including the comprehensive management of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) with the financial support and sustainability from the Government of Belize.

The first VCT Centre has been established at the Cleopatra White Health Centre, Belize City, Belize. Vital components of this program involve the following:

1. Pre-test Counselling
· Assessment of knowledge of transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS
· Assessment of high risk behaviour
· Development of a Behavioural Change Plan
· Medical examination for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
2. Laboratory testing for HIV and immediate results of HIV Status
3. Immediate Post-test Counselling
4. Continued Counselling and Support for HIV+ Individuals
· HIV and Nutrition
· HIV and Immune System
· Antiretroviral Medications and Side Effects
· Adherence
· Resistance
· Contact Tracing
5. Antiretroviral Therapy (based on CD4 Count and Clinical Signs)
· Adherence

The Government of Belize has provided the funds and the Ministry of Health has procured Antiretrovirals and medications for Opportunistic Infections for 200 Belizeans Living With HIV/AIDS. PLWHA with clinical signs of AIDS and CD4 Counts between 350-200 cells/mm³ qualify to start therapy. Any Belizean requiring medications will have access to free ARVs.
It is estimated that approximately 500 Belizeans require ARV Therapy. Belize was successful in its bid for Global Funds and will receive US$1,298,884 in the first two years. Therefore, the remaining ARVs will be procured through Global Funds to make available free and universal access of ARVs for all Belizeans and at the end of Global Fund the Government of Belize will provide these funds for sustainability of this programme.

All Belizeans are invited to visit the Pro-Care and Treatment Center, Cleopatra White Health Center, to access the VCT Services and to be aware of his/her HIV Status with the finality of behaviour change, breaking the transmission of HIV and the reduction of new HIV Infections in Belize.

During this year the National AIDS Programme/Ministry of Health has improved its HIV/AIDS Surveillance and its dissemination. One of every three HIV+ Individual will develop Tuberculosis. This program has been strengthened with a Clinician, guidelines, workshops, surveillance forms and monitor and evaluation.

Healthcare workers involved in the prevention of the Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV improved their counseling skills, to convince pregnant mothers to do their HIV Test, with their participation in a six days HIV/AIDS Counseling Workshop. These five workshops were also extended to healthcare workers involved in the Sexually Transmitted Infections, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS Programs and also from the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

CD4 levels and Viral Load are important laboratory tests for the initiation of ARVs and also for the clinical management of HIV/AIDS. Through the aid of the Japanese Embassy the Ministry bought a CD4 FACSCount System in 2002. Plans are presently underway to buy a machine that performs both Viral Load and PCR. The PCR will especially assist the MTCT Programme. Also laboratory diagnosis for opportunistic infections will be strengthened in collaboration with CAREC.

Various guidelines were elaborated including:
· Guidelines for Occupational and Body Fluids Exposures to Bloodborne Pathogens were developed for Healthcare workers and along with ARV therapy have been disseminated countrywide.
· HIV/AIDS Counseling Manual
· Guidelines for the Clinical Management of HIV/AIDS
· Drug Profile for the Clinical Management of HIV/AIDS
· Operational Manual for the VCT Center

A Clinical Management of HIV/AIDS Workshop for Doctors and Nurses was conducted in 2002 and plans are presently underway to increase the capacity of our Internists and Pediatricians at each district level for the Clinical Management of HIV/AIDS in February 2004.

The National AIDS program is presently engaged in two researches:
1. In collaboration with the National Institute of Health, USA, and the Belize Association for Improved Healthcare the Ministry of Health is involved in a study that provides same day HIV results at specific VCT Sites. This investigation also serves as a pilot for the Ministry for its adoption after this study is completed.
2. With PASCA and other agencies the Ministry of Health has initiated a multicenter study of STI/HIV Prevalences and Socio-behavioral patterns among specific populations in Belize.

The immediate next steps of the National AIDS Programme/Ministry of Health, after monitor and evaluation of this first centre, includes having VCT Centres with the delivery of efficient and effective HIV/AIDS services including the comprehensive management of People Living with HIV/AIDS in the Stann Creek, Cayo and Orange Walk Districts in that order due to the number of infections.

Ends
 
S

Supafly

Guest
"All Belizeans are invited to visit the Pro-Care and Treatment Center, Cleopatra White Health Center, to access the VCT Services and to be aware of his/her HIV Status with the finality of behaviour change, breaking the transmission of HIV and the reduction of new HIV Infections in Belize. "

see what i mean? this language is not directed at the working class. "...FINALITY OF BEHAVIOUR CHANGE..." my rass.
 

Belizeans.com

All ah we da Belizeans!
Staff member
Cayo kids march against AIDS

Ch 5:

Cayo kids march against AIDS




The effort to curb the spread of AIDS invariably focuses on behavioural change...and to that end we see plenty of catchy advertisements in the media advocating abstinence, the use of condoms, and monogamous relationships. Today the Cayo District was the venue for a unique approach that centred on the forgotten victims of the disease. Patrick Jones reports.

Patrick Jones, Reporting
The main streets of San Ignacio Town were overrun by children this morning. Their placards and chants were aimed squarely at their parents.

Patrick Jones
"Henry, why are you taking part in the march today?"

Henry Joseph Galvez, Std. 3, St. Andrews Anglican
"Because to inform parents about HIV, to protect themselves and to let us not be orphans."

Joris Groenendaal, Std. 6, Sacred Heart Primary
"Today I am taking part in this event to give a message to the community about AIDS, what AIDS is about and that HIV AIDS kills people and they leave children orphaned."

According to Lavern Maskall, Cornerstone Foundation's HIV/AIDS project manager, the impact of the deadly disease also has serious implications for children and now is the time to take them into serious consideration.

Lavern Maskall, HIV/AIDS Project Manager
"The main purpose is for us to get a chance to hear what the young people want to say. HIV/AIDS in Belize is not only affecting adults, it's also affecting our young people, our children, our future and we tend to only look on adults and put them in the background. But they want to voice their opinion, they know about it and we should give them a chance to express exactly how they feel about the whole situation."

Patrick Jones
"The students taking part in today's demonstration attend various primary schools here in san Ignacio. But more than just a couple of hours outside of the classroom, they are hoping that their message will reach the entire population because conservative estimates are that by the year 2010 as many as five thousand boys and girls just like will lose their parents to AIDS."

Melissa Marie Avella, Std. 3, St. Andrews Primary
"We want parents to protect themselves and to not let us be orphans. We need our parents around for more years. "

Joris Groenendaal
"Adults need to know about HIV AIDS because if they get this sickness, they might die--they will die most likely and then their children will stay orphaned and they will have an unhappy life."

John Lanou, a volunteer with Cornerstone, the local N.G.O. that organised the AIDS Orphan March, says trends in the spread of the deadly disease looks ominous for children.

John Lanou, Volunteer, Cornerstone Foundation
"Those statistics are base on UNICEF international statistic. At the end of 2001 approximately one thousand children in Belize were AIDS orphans. So we've done extrapolations just based on population growth and that figure that by 2010 two percent of Belizean children will be AIDS orphans."

Perla Martinez, Std. 6, Sacred Heart Primary
"I am taking part in this march because I want everybody in the community and the country of Belize to be aware of AIDS and what AIDS does to people."

Patrick Jones
"What does?"

Perla Martinez
"It harms your immune system and it kills you. Then it makes you leave behind like your property and children. And children do not like to alone without their parents."

And while their voices may be small, the messages coming from these children run deep.

Andy Pech, Std. 6, Faith Nazarene Primary
"They can protect themselves by thinking about what they are going to do at first and by saying I won't do what I want to do right now. I want to protect my child, live a longer life so I could see my child in the future."

Perla Martinez
"Well my message would be that they protect themselves from HIV/AIDS, to get tested, and to before get married to ask their partner to get tested. And another way to protect themselves should be abstinence. "

Krista Mai, Std. 6, Faith Nazarene Primary
"First of all we are her because we want advise the parents to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS... To be aware that AIDS is very contagious and they have to protect their children also from it."

Patrick Jones for News 5.

The Cornerstone Foundation says it will continue to sponsor public events to increase awareness of AIDS.
 

Belizeans.com

All ah we da Belizeans!
Staff member
HIV/AIDS workplace programme launched

HIV/AIDS workplace programme launched

It is not certain just how many people in the workforce have HIV and AIDS, but the deadly disease has mainly affected persons in the productive sector: that means young men and women between the ages of fifteen to forty-nine years old. Today, the Ministry of Labour and Local Government launched a workplace HIV/AIDS project that seeks to protect workers against the disease and to help companies to deal with cases on the job. The programme comes as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Human Development, Local Government and Labour, and the International Labour Organization in collaboration with the United States Department of Labour. Sheila Middleton is the project's national coordinator.

Sheila Middleton, National Project Coordinator
"We know that the target population that are being affected by HIV are the working force population, so this is the importance of this programme that we will be working with the workforce trying to prevent HIV/AIDS in the workplace and also putting education programmes. Ongoing education programmes, not only once a month you do something, but often people will be getting exposed to information and thus they will be able to reduce some of their risky behaviours."

"What will happen is that we will do training at the top with the supervisors and the managers first, sensitisation so that they become more aware of the issue of HIV/AIDS. Then we will work directly with the employees of that selected company or government department. We will be instituting a peer education programme, behaviour change modification programme will also be a part of it. And also, they will have a selected committee within that company that will deal specifically with the whole issue of HIV/AIDS and they will be the ones that will say what are some of the things that they want. The first thing when we enter any company or government department, will be a survey to be done with the workers to see what their needs are and to see what level they know about the whole issue of HIV/AIDS."

Middleton says because the project encourages companies to have workplace policies that include an HIV/AIDS plan of action, it will also address the problem of discrimination against persons living with the disease.
 

Belizeans.com

All ah we da Belizeans!
Staff member
AIDS project for youth launched

Ch 5:

AIDS project for youth launched

A programme to help prevent AIDS, particularly among vulnerable young people, was officially launched this morning. An agreement between the Organization of Petroleum Producing Countries, OPEC fund/the U.N.F.P.A., and the Government of Belize was signed in Belmopan at the George Price Centre. The government press office spoke with Hetty Sarjeant of the United Nations Population Fund.

Hetty Sarjeant, U.N.F.P.A.
"The agreement between OPEC and the U.N.F.P.A. was signed by our Executive Director, Thoraya Obaid towards the end of 2002, and she was largely responsible for accessing those funds. However, as you know, the project required much national consultations, so since early last year, February and March, we have been meeting with all the various government agencies, NGO's and so on to pull together what the people of Belize felt they wanted. Basically, we know that the migrant populations, they are populations that may not have access to sufficient services, so the project essentially is going to provide information, education, and services to young people with respect to the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, particularly the HIV/AIDS prevention. It's a three-year project. The total dollar amount is four hundred and fifty thousand U.S. dollars. However, U.N.F.P.A. is going to contribute in kind support, and the Government of Belize will also provide in kind support through provision of office space for the project coordinator and the time of some of their very valued officers."

The project will utilise health services, NGOs, the ministries of National Development, Labour, Health, Education, and Tourism. Beneficiaries include young people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, commercial workers, migrant and mobile youth, National Cadet Corps members, prisoners, members of street gangs, pregnant young women, and single mothers."
 

Belizeans.com

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Staff member
Ch 5:

Better care for HIV/AIDS sufferers

A three-day training workshop on the clinical management of HIV/AIDS opened today in Belize City. Doctors and nurses from throughout the country are participating in the sessions, which included remarks from the Minister of Health Vildo Marin and Errol Fairweather, who has been benefiting from anti-retroviral therapy.

Vildo Marin, Minister of Health
"This programme includes the comprehensive management of persons living with HIV/AIDS with the financial support and sustainability from the government. The first V.C.T. centre was officially established at the Cleopatra White Health Centre in September 2003. An integral component of this service is the availability of the anti-retrovirals for those that satisfy the criteria. We are presently at the stage of extending these services to the other three regions of Belize, mainly the southern, western, and northern districts, and therefore have recognised the need for more physicians with training in the clinical management of HIV/AIDS, including the collaboration of the private sector to increase accessibility, equity, and quality of service. These are the goals of the health sector reform."

Errol Fairweather, Undergoing Anti-retroviral Treatment
"When I found out I was HIV, a lot of things happened, my world stopped and I went into denial, which made it worse. I started doing a lot of things that I had gave up already--I had stopped doing. I had settled down, I planned on getting married and having a family finally in my life at the age I'm at. My world stopped and things started getting worse. Then I developed full-blown AIDS. I landed at the Southern Regional Hospital under the care of Dr. Kim and after a while she put me on medication and it wasn't working at first. It didn't work for a long time, and the reason it didn't work was not because it wasn't the right medication, it wasn't the doctor's fault. I didn't have the proper diet, I was taking vacations, partying, still drinking, doing things that was not right. And I just want to encourage each and every one of you here today and each and every one of the doctors here to get involved in this fight because there is hope, there is something that can be done. I can remember when the change came about in my life, when I decided I wanted to live and I didn't want to die no more and that I could live with this thing. And that's when I met Dr. Arriaga, in February of last year. And he gave me hope, the hope that I needed to make that change in my life."

Topics being covered by the training sessions include identifying the early and advanced manifestations of HIV, evaluation and management of a client with HIV, factors involved when introducing anti-retroviral therapy, and management of HIV in pregnancy.
 

Belizeans.com

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Staff member
The Reporter:

Clinicians look at ways to curb HIV/AIDS
(Friday 27 February 2004 10:19:14 am)

Doctors fighting the AIDS pandemic in Belize are frustrated, knowing that their power to help is limited owing to a lack of resources.

Medical practitioners throughout the country joined the Ministry of Health in its attempt to educate health care providers and make them aware of the HIV/AIDS situation in Belize, through a three-day workshop on February 23 - 25.

The HIV/AIDS clinical management training initiative, covered the scientific study of HIV and early infection, clinical manifestations of advanced HIV, dosage and usage of anti-retroviral treatment, the initial evaluation and management of infected patients and ways of preventing maternal to child transmission of HIV.

In a shocking but true briefing, doctors explained the medical situation with the HIV/AIDS virus in Belize, and the lack of medicine and other resources that could assist.

They described their frustration in dealing with people, knowing that proper equipment and medicine cannot be provided. Many doctors at the workshop mentioned that Belizeans who become aware that they are infected, have avoided the stigma and have refused treatment or have "Supposingly disappeared."

Dr. Pedro Arriaga expressed his views, "We don't have the infrastructure or treatment for our patients. It is hard to deal with these patients, especially when the entire family is infected with the virus, it is sad. All I can offer is support medicine which is limited to none. We are trying to develop a national network, where with all the AIDS victims; we can monitor their progress on a whole through computers.

The hospitals are facing problems with differentiating what disease patients have. We have no help from the UNAIDS and to make it worse, some of our physicians don't want to treat these patients, but it is pure ignorance. It is not until recently that we have been receiving small donations of anti-retroviral medicine which is clearly not enough."
In 1986 the first HIV/AIDS case in Belize was recorded. Since then, a check in September 2003 by the National Alliance Against Aids, shows the alarming growth to 2,363 infected people. The major increase has suggested to doctors, that the most prevalent form of transmission has been sexual.


According to Dr. Arriaga, only three cases in 2001 have been transmitted through blood transfusion.

Also making a presentation was Dr. David Wheeler of the United States. He spoke of what is HIV, how it is transmitted and what actually takes place within the blood cells once the virus is contracted.

This information has lead to indications of the careless and irresponsible nature of human beings with their intimate partners.
Dr. Paul Edwards told participants, "This workshop is for clinicians to increase their knowledge of how to manage and deal with people with AIDS. We are planning to have centers throughout the country, and we are trying to increase the amount of trained personnel to deal with these centres. We also have Voluntary Testing and Counselling centres available in the City and are trying to expand them to the districts, in hope to educate and assist more people."


The Ministry of Health hopes to assist doctors access treatment and better equipment, in order to provide better medical attention to HIV patients.
 

Belizeans.com

All ah we da Belizeans!
Staff member
The Reporter:

Back from the Brink! Floyd has won his battle against AIDS or so it seems...
(Friday 27 February 2004 10:28:25 am)

Four and a half months ago 35-year -old Floyd Allen Leslie was on his way out!

He looked terrible, with bumps on his face and hands, his gaunt frame and his lean and hungry look.

He was dying and he knew it, because everybody knows that you don’t recover from seven debilitating years of HIV/AIDS.

But Floyd Allen Leslie has recovered. He has come back from the brink - to the extent that he can jog for eight miles and not feel tired.

When he walked into the Reporter office this week, after only 18 weeks of bush medicine therapy, he was not the derelict of a man who used to live under the Bel-China Bridge, shunned by family and friends.

There was an umistakable strut in his stride. His chest was well developed like a body-builder’s. He braced his shoulders and crooked his arms like a bird with brood chicks. The muscles of his upper arms, his bicepts and tricepts, were clearly defined.

BelChina Bridgeman

His appearance was so changed, I had to ask:
“Are you the same guy who used to sleep under the Bel-China bridge?”


“Yes,” he smiled a broad smile. “That’s me!”
It took a few minutes for the reality to sink in.


Floyd Allen Leslie had been a familiar figure around the Reporter Press. He used to come for money to buy food. More than a year ago he told me that he had AIDS, but I would not have guessed it was the same person.

This morning he looked like a new man. The swagger was under-standable. Sometimes when you pump up your muscles too quickly, you tend to walk like a penguin. But in this case you could tell that Leslie was doing his strutting for effect. He felt good and he wanted others to know it!

For a man who has faced the tribulations that he has faced and the prospects of almost certain death, his recovery is a remarkable story of perseverance and achievement.

Five months ago, in early October 2003 Leslie decided to take up an offer made by the Reporter, to take the bush medicine therapy being offered by herbalist Harry Guy, curandero of San Ignacio.

Take a chance on herb therapy

Harry Guy had announced that he had developed a herbal brew which was effective against the AIDS virus. Nobody believed him and when the Reporter offered to sponsor and pay for six test cases, the offer was met with disdain from the AIDS Commission in Belize City, which published a statement cautioning people about the danger of being used as guinea pigs.

As we sat down to talk, Leslie explained that he had tried to get medication from the Cleopatra White Health Centre during several months. But the people at the health centre kept telling him that their supplies had not yet arrived.

That’s when he decided to try the herb therapy being offered by Harry Guy. It was a decision which he would not regret.

“I was born in 1968. My father is William Carl Lewis who lives in Belize City. My mother, Dylsie Dawson, lives in New York, he began.

“I am a fisherman by trade. I have fished on and around Long Caye, near Stann-Creek for more than a dozen years.

“I remember it was on a Sunday evening July of 1993. I had just come in from Long Caye for some supplies and I was standing near the small wooden pier opposite the Bellevue Hotel.

“Without warning I found myself surrounded by four men. Two of them had machetes; one had a knife. One of them attacked me from behind with a neck lock, while two others rifled through my pockets.

“I was carrying $700 in cash - money I needed for supplies, so I resisted fiercely. The guy with the necklock stuck his knife into my back and when that did not quiet me, he did it again. I glanced up just in time to see the blade of the other guy’s machete heading towards my face.

“I put out my hand instinctively to ward off the blow and sustained a terrible cut to my forearm.”

“After that I stopped struggling and allowed them to do what they wanted. They stripped me of my watch - an expensive Citizen diving watch, my money and a gold chain I was wearing and ran off.
“I limped across to the Bellevue Hotel and collapsed on the floor, bleeding profusely.”


Next stop: K.H.M.H.

That attack at the Bellevue pier landed Floyd Allen Leslie in the hospital. The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital had just been opened and he was admitted. He needed urgent surgery to his forearm and back.

It took eighteen stitches to mend the slash to his forearm and the doctors explained they could not sew back the severed sinues in his forearm. They had to take them out. He also had to have a blood transfusion to replace vital fluids he had lost in the attack.

Leslie would have reason four years later to remember that transfusion because it left a mark on his immune system as deep as the wound on his arm.

“Around June 1997, while at Long Caye I began to feel terrible,” Leslie recalls.

First flu

“I was, fishing as usual, when I came down with the flu. I thought at the time it was flu: high fever and chills, but no runny nose and no cough. I had pain all over my body from every joint and I was stuck in bed for four days.

“After I recovered I went back to diving, but the fever and the pain came back in July and again in August.

“In September 1997, after my fourth attack, I decided to come in to Belize to see the doctor.

“In October I went to the Medical Associates on St.Thomas Street for a blood test. I took the test results to Dr. Filberto Cawich, who looked at the paper and looked at me.

“This test shows that you are HIV positive,” he said.
“I sat there looking at him in disbelief. ‘You’re mistaken’ I told him. I knew I had not been fooling around. I felt sure there was a mistake somewhere and I told him so.


A second opinion

“Dr. Cawich advised me to get a second opinion. As I walked out of his office I put the test paper in my pocket and soon forgot about it.
People can’t catch AIDS from fresh sea breeze!”


“So I returned to Long Caye in a state of denial. I would not believe it. I could not believe it! I began to work. I did free dives and tank dives hunting for conch, fish, lobster- whatever was in season.

“But I found I could not do the work. I became tired easily. I would go to bed at seven at night and wake up in the morning feeling tired. I could sleep for a night and a day and still wake up feeling tired.

“Early in the new year (1998) I came down with a paralysing illness. I had night sweats and I lost my appetite. I began to lose weight fast. With a jolt I remembered Dr. Cawich and the things he had told me. He had predicted what would happen.

Dr. Cawich had told me in October that I would lose weight and have night sweats. He said I would lose my appetite. I remembered and became cold all over.”

After four months of intermittent illness at Long Caye, Floyd Leslie decided to go to a hospital in Dangriga to find out what was wrong with his health.

“I made up my mind to go to Dangriga and check into the hospital there. That was the closest place- about 20 miles by sea. At the Dangriga hospital I met Dr. Ken who who told me that I had bronchial pneumonia.

“Dr. Ken treated me and I remained in the hospital for ten days. I did not mention anything about HIV/AIDS and neither did Dr.Ken. But the first thing I did on leaving the hospital was to walk down to Commerce Street, to Medical Laboratories. I met the manager, Dr. Chou and told him that I wanted to pay for a blood test. He nodded and said it would take two hours.

“Two hours later I was back at Dr.Chou’s. He looked at me and handed me an envelope. ‘Mr. Leslie, it does not look so good,’ he said to me.
“I took it from him without a word and walked out. I opened the envelope in the bright sunlight and read the paper inside.


“It said that the blood from the subject indicates that the subject is HIV positive.
“Now I had to believe. I now had evidence from two independent tests. I could no longer ignore what I was feeling and I remembered the words of Dr. Filberto Cawich.


“I had also read a lot about AIDS and I knew there was no cure for it. I also remembered my seven weeks at the Karl Heusner Hospital back in 1993 and a deep, deep melancholy overpowered me. I made my way to the seaside with my chest heaving. I could not hold back the tears.

“I knew instinctively that I would not have the energy to go back to work at the caye. Fishing is hard work. So I came to Belize City instead, not knowing what else to do.

“In Belize City I met a remarkable man, Charlie Osborn, an American, who was building a church - Divine Mercy Church - in the Buttonwood Bay area, Northern Highway.

“I spoke to him and told him of my situation. Charlie was a good man. He took me in and gave me a bed and mattress to sleep on.
He paid me to cook for the workers who were building the church and do odd jobs. I stayed with Charlie for ten months until his church was almost finished.


By then I was feeling strong enough to return to Long Caye. That’s what I wanted to do, so I took a boat out to Long Caye and tried to get back into my old trade.

“But I found that I couldn’t stay out there. I could not do that kind of work anymore. I therefore went back to Dangriga.

“In Dangriga I gained the confidence to tell other people about my problem. I remember reading St. Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth - the part about the importance of charity.

Though I speak with the tongues of angels and have not charity, I am nothing... And if I give all my goods to the poor and offer my body to be burned, and have not charity, I gain nothing... And now there remains these three - faith, hope and charity. But the greatest of these is charity!

“In Dangriga I made a number of presentations to students in the high schools. I figured that if I could help these young people who are in danger of contracting HIV, I could do some good.

“My first presentation was at DeLille Academy in Dangriga. It was a big success. They held the presentation at the auditorium because the classrooms were not big enough to hold the students.

“After that I spoke to the students of Holy Ghost and Sacred Heart schools and to the students of the Methodist School in Dangriga.

I earned some money from these talks, so I travelled to Orange Walk and spoke to the students of Muffles College and Bishop Martin High School. I made five presentations in Orange Walk before coming back to Belize City.

In Belize I spoke to students of St. John’s Junion College, to the Theology and Sociology classes and also made a presentation to the National Library Service.

During this time I also appeared on Channel 5 Television as a person living with AIDS and telling of my experience.

“In spite of all my efforts, life was hard. Meals were difficult to come by. I had no place to live and no place to sleep. So I made a make-shift bed from the carcass of an old automobile seat I found. I scavenged a large plastic bag, about seven feet long, and used this as a sleeping bag when it rained a lot and when it became too cold.

“People who knew that I was living under the Bel China Bridge began to refer to me as the Bridge Troll. Everybody knew that I had AIDS and people, even friends, avoided me. If they see me walking on one side of the street, they would cross over to the other side and pretend not to see me.

“It was a bitter experience for me to observe how my fishermen friends avoided me. It was as if I had leprosy.

“One day I was standing near the Bel China Bridge, having a snack, when a stranger rode up to me and handed me a newspaper page. It was a page from the Reporter of September, 2003. He pointed to an article which said that one Mr. Harry Guy, a herbs man in San Ignacio, was claiming that he had a herbal medicine that would help people with AIDS.

“I was sceptical at first, but after a few days of thinking about it, I decided that I had nothing to lose. I knew that sooner or later the disease would kill me. So I went to the Reporter newspaper and spoke to the Publisher, Mr. Harry Lawrence.

“The publisher told me to go and see Mr. Harry Guy in San Ignacio. He gave me directions and a telephone number. He didn’t ask me for my name or anything, and he told me that the Reporter would pay for the treatment.

“Go and see Mr. Guy,” he said to me. So I did.

“I took my few possessions with me, thinking I would have to remain in San Ignacio. This was in mid September last year. When I met Mr. Guy, he explained there was no need for me to stay in San Ignacio.

“He wrote down my name and asked me for the blood test results. He told me that my sickness was far advanced and asked me if I suffered from any weakness of the stomach. I needed to have a healthy stomach to take the medicine, he told me.

“I received three quarts of the herbal medicine that day. He told me I would need to take the medicine for at least six months, one ounce three times a day with meals.

I found the medicine not at all pleasant. It was bitter, and the aftertaste lingered in my mouth for what seemed like hours. But I continued to take it faithfully to this day. Today I would not dream of doing without it.

“Mr. Guy has been great. Whenever I need more medicine, I would call him on the telephone and he would send me three new bottles on the bus the very next day. I am now on my tenth bottle.

“For the first few weeks of drinking the medicine I saw and felt no improvement. But after six weeks I began to feel a lot better. The night sweats were the first to go. Then my appetite improved and I noticed that my energy began to come back.

“I noticed that my ears have become very sensitive to sounds and today I can pick up on conversations between people a many feet away from me.

“My night vision has also improved and I find that I can see objects in the dark that I could not see before. As the weeks go by, I see so much improvements and now I have begun to exercise. I had no choice. I had to turn to physical exercise because I had so much energy, I could not sit still.

“I took up jogging and did push-ups to build my arm and lung muscles. I excercise for hours every day, but I don’t lift weights. I do calisthenics and I run.

“People see me on the highway and think that I am crazy. But I run for the pure joy of running. If I do not run, I find I cannot go to sleep at nights. I must burn off my excess energy.

“Today I feel younger and stronger than I have ever been in my life. I eat lots and lots of raw vegetables - carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, onion, garlic and broccoli.

“I don’t eat meat anymore - neither beef nor pork nor chicken. I will only have fish as a soup and I have given up on game meat, lobster, conch, etc.

Today I am happy and proud of what I have accomplished, thanks to Mr. Harry Guy and the Reporter for giving those powerful herbs a chance to work their magic.

“I believe that I will be completely cured, and that Mr. Harry Guy will go on to help thousands of people at home and abroad who now are now living with AIDS.

“I look forward to my viral load test later this year, which will provide the scientific proof that Mr. Guy’s herbal medicine should be taken seriously. From my own experience with the herbal medicine, I can see a cure in sight.

If it doesn’t cure me completely, it will restore my immune system to the point where I can once more lead a normal, healthy and productive life.”

Of the six places made available to people living with AIDS under the Reporter programme, four have been taken up, and all four are taking the herbal medicine regularly. Some are progressing faster than others, but all say they are benefitting from the treatment.
 

margaret

Old School Cruffy
Uno di taalk bout Belize, what about Los Angeles!

Los Angeles has the highest AIDS rate in the United States. So I would try to keep my goods to myself everywhere I go. You never know who has AIDS and who doesn't. :mad:
 
B

belizesurfer

Guest
Really, I thought San Francisco had more cases. I mean percentage wise by city.
 

Belizeans.com

All ah we da Belizeans!
Staff member
Love FM:

HIV/AIDS WORKPLACE EDUCATION PROGRAMME INTRODUCED

The HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Program will be introduced today in the Northern Region. Last month a similar program was introduced in Belize City and there are plans to have the project at a countrywide level. National Project Coordinator, Sheila Middleton said the three year program will be implemented through the Ministry of Labour. The project aims to contribute to the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the world of work, improving workplace protection and reduction of its adverse consequences on social, labour and economic development. The introduction of the program takes place at the Belize Sugar Industries Staff Club in Orange Walk Town.
 

Belizeans.com

All ah we da Belizeans!
Staff member
Ch 5:

Churches look for ways to deal with AIDS
Church leaders from across the country have taken a break from their congregations to attend a three day workshop in Belize City, dealing with pastoral care for people infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS. Organized by a group called the Commission for a Faith Based Response to HIV/AIDS, the workshop is the second attempt at enlisting the cooperation of the church, across denominational lines, in fighting the deadly disease. Anglican Bishop Sylvestre Romero Palma says AIDS is a challenge not only to religious organisations, but the whole of society.

Bishop Sylvestre Romero Palma, Anglican Church
“It means even those persons who are non-Christians or other religious denominations; it’s everybody who needs to be involved. And we need to take on that responsibility, children right up to the older folks, they have a role to play. It’s not only for us as Christians, but everybody I think it’s our responsibility.”

Patrick Jones
“Given that a large part of the AIDS epidemic has to do with behaviour, how can you as a pastor effectively deal with it in your congregation without stepping on anybody’s toes?”

Bishop Sylvestre Romero Palma
”That’s a good question. I think that whenever we speak to somebody, first of all, we need to speak the truth. And it’s the truth that hurts, and so we will always be stepping on people’s toes if they are doing something that is wrong.”

Patrick Jones
“Is the church ready to deal with this in its congregation?”

Bishop Sylvestre Romero Palma
”The church must be ready; it’s not a matter of is the church ready. I think, for example, in my role as a leader of the church we need to understand that, that [for] the church it’s not a matter of being ready, but that it is our duty, that is our responsibility be able to speak out.”

Canon Philip Wright, Anglican Church
“This workshop that we are organising is to sort of hopefully expose pastors and those involved in the pastoral care of the sick and so forth, with some skills that can help them in that ministry, specifically aimed at those suffering from HIV and AIDS and affected families as well.”

Patrick Jones
“Can it work just simply by the pastor from the pulpit telling his congregation to be careful?”

Canon Philip Wright
”No, I think it has to go beyond that. And that is also a part of the purpose of the workshop, to expose us to where we can also be in the trenches if you will, meeting with these people, advocating for them, and making sure that as a society, as community, we are sensitive to the need to provide the best quality care for people such as these individuals.”

At the end of the workshop on Thursday, organisers say they hope to compile recommendations into a manual for use in churches and communities around the country. The workshop on pastoral care for persons affected and infected with HIV and AIDS is being supported by the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF.
 
B

belizesurfer

Guest
Ch 5:

Teachers learn to deal with AIDS
It’s the middle of the summer holidays, but somebody forgot to tell a group of primary school teachers, who we found still working hard in the classroom. The over one hundred and twenty educators that are this week taking part in a three day workshop, are not just improving their skills in multi grade teaching, and subjects such as social studies, language arts, and music. According to Health and Family Life Coordinator with the Ministry of Education, Yvonne Codd, the teachers are also being instructed on how to deal with HIV and AIDS in the workplace.

Yvonne Codd, Health & Family Life Coordinator
“The purpose of the HIV/AIDS component is to have teachers become aware of what is happening out there in regards to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Belize. Have them be able to overcome fears of stigma and discrimination against children and colleagues affected with HIV/AIDS and other persons living out there in the community.”

“Right now we are looking at putting together a policy that is a health and family life policy. And under this health and policy life policy will come HIV/AIDS as a component. After the policy has been developed and signed by the ministers of government, then we will look at revising the curriculum to suit the needs of teaching methodologies in schools.”

“When we look at health and family life education we are not only looking at HIV/AIDS, we are looking at physical education, we are looking at the nutritional aspect and we are looking at life skills--we are looking at them knowing how to take care of persons living with AIDS in regards to care and attention that would be needed.”

“When you look at physical education we are looking at the practical part also where they will be able to be exposed to what is the right way from the wrong way of doing different techniques in regards to the areas we are dealing with which are track and field, softball, and football for these three days.”

Codd says similar teacher training workshops are scheduled in the districts next month. The workshop, which ends on Wednesday at the Edward P. York High school in Belize City, is coordinated by the Quality Assurance and Development Service of the Ministry of Education.
 
B

belizesurfer

Guest
Ch 7:

Taking HIV/AIDS Education to the Streets


We've heard from the technocrats and health professionals about the solution to Belize's HIV/Aids problem. But is all that talk working? Well, the numbers show that the problem is only getting worse. But now, new approach coordinated by the Red Cross and funded by UNICEF is taking the message of HIV/Aids straight to the streets. Here's how.

Keith Swift Reporting,
Sitting under the banner "Together We Can" are the newest foot soldiers in Belize's battle against HIV and Aids. For the next three days these youths from the city's south side are participating in the Red Cross' HIV peer education program. And national trainer Sherie Murillo says these youths may be the best offensive in the battle against Aids.

Sherie Murillo, Red Cross National Trainer
“I just believe that the youths out there in the community would rather listen to their friends rather than listen to maybe a 40 year old person. They would love to play these games and activities with their friends rather than being in a classroom setting where you have obligations to certain things.”

And the program just might work because in-training instructors like Keith Lemoth from Youth for the Future and Keisha Murillo from Port Loyola both say they are ready to head back into their enclave with the knowledge about HIV and Aids. And for Keisha it’s very important because she says her peers hunger for more info on HIV and Aids.

Keisha Murillo, Trainee
“Some of my friends feel like they don’t have the right to talk about their feelings and some of them don’t have good education. And then the schools don’t teach more about HIV and AIDS.”

Keith Lemoth, Trainee
“I think this training will leave me with one a personal experience of how to address certain youths that might come to you seeking assistance and also the knowledge I can gain will also help prepare my personal children if I have any as to how they can go about to live a more safer life.”

“They have several activities planned out for us but immediately we are going to basically try to work with at risk youths in the community.”

But before they get back into their communities, these peer educators will have to finish the training.

Sherie Murillo, Red Cross National Trainer
“We’re conducting a training workshop training individuals to be certified instructor trainers. These individuals are going to be trained for three days. They will have to do a teach back assessment and also a post test for them to be certified as a instructor trainer. After the three day training they will train a set of peer educator who range in age from 14 to 19 from the South side of Belize City. These peer educators will have to go out into the south side and train.”

And as the training continues the organizers hope that together youths can prevent the HIV pandemic.

The training for these instructors ends on Wednesday. A team of peer educators will be trained from Thursday through to Saturday. The "Together We Can” initiative was introduced in Belize in January. For a comparative analysis it has been doing well in Jamaica for the past 10 years.
 

Belizeans.com

All ah we da Belizeans!
Staff member
Nutrition Handbook for People living with HIV/AIDS to be launched

29 July, 2004 - Belmopan
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute will
introduce the publication “”Healthy Eating for Better Living, A
Caribbean Handbook” on Tuesday August 3 at 8:30 a.m. at the Belize
Institute of Management in Belize City.

The publication was developed by the Caribbean Food and Nutrition
Institute to provide caregivers and People Living with HIV and AIDS the
basic nutritional information needed to improve their quality of life.

HIV/AIDS can take a tremendous toll on the bodies of persons affected.
Since there is not yet a cure for the disease, good nutritional support
can help to extend life and help to ensure that it is of greater
quality. Also as anti-retrovirals become more accessible to Belizeans
living with the disease, it is important that the medication be combined
with good nutrition in order to encourage adherence to the drugs.

The handbook provides basic information on nutrition for everyone. It is
designed to provide people living with HIV/AIDS accurate, up-to-date
information about healthy diets. It includes a special section on how to
cope with problems related to the disease and a section that deals
specifically with infants and children living with HIV/AIDS. A workshop
immediately following the launch will provide training on the use of
handbook.
 
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