Free services for people with HIV/AIDS

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Free services for people with HIV/AIDS

Thursday, December 21, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will be offering free services for people living with HIV/AIDS as of early next year.

The services, which include clinic, pharmacy, counselling services and a food bank, will be provided at the foundation's office on Hagley Park Road in Kingston.

The promotion of these services, particularly in communities with a high concentration of people living with HIV/AIDS, is a collaborative effort between the Religious Groups Steering Committee of the Jamaica Council of Churches, which focuses on HIV and AIDS-related matters and the AHF, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation with headquarters in Los Angeles, California, USA.

“The AHF's mission is to focus attention on the HIV and AIDS epidemic and the right to health, through the provision of cutting edge medicine and advocacy regardless of ability to pay,” said AHF Caribbean Regional Director Dr Kevin Harvey.

He added that the strengthening of the capacity of religious agencies to adequately and appropriately respond to HIV and AIDS issues, is critical, especially in areas with a high concentration of persons living with HIV, most of whom are also of limited economic means.

In preparation to launch the AHF services, a number of religious leaders from Rockfort to Six Miles, have undergone a sensitisation session on the urgency to continue to focus attention on the context, spread and impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the importance of a healthy lifestyle, awareness of the right to health, together with the importance of adherence to and availability of free anti-retroviral drugs and other medications and services.

HIV/AIDS remains a public health concern and priority for the Ministry of Health and the Government of Jamaica.

It is estimated that about 32,000 Jamaicans are living with HIV and as many as 50 per cent are unaware of their status. Although the epidemic affects more men than women, over time the number of female victims has been increasing annually.

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