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Monday, June 26, 2006 

'Burying' HIV/Aids $13m to fight pandemic

Monday, June 26th 2006

The Tobago House of Assembly has allocated over $13 million to fight the spread of HIV/Aids in Tobago, Chief Secretary Orville London has disclosed.

He said the prevention of the spread of the disease was more critical than treatment at this point. He was speaking at the commissioning of the 18-member Tobago HIV/Aids Coordinating Committee headed by Archdeacon Phil Isaac last week Wednesday.

"We are all partners and soldiers in the fight against HIV/Aids since it is a battle that is being waged on a daily basis," he said. London said members of the committee needed to ensure that all Tobagonians were involved in the fight and urged them to spread their wings and influence those out of their offices and into the hearts of the public since this was the beginning of the wider "we". The Chief Secretary who recently assumed responsibility for this aspect of the campaign said there were three major threats on the island, crime, dealing with HIV/Aids and the negative attitudes of people.

He said: "Prevention is more critical than treatment and at present the mindset of persons need to change. A lot of money is and will continue to be spent on dealing with the disease and as a result the treatment of mirroring organisations needs to be dealt with since there is no need for a pool of organisations to fight one situation when there is a committee designated to deal with all aspects of the problems associated with combating the disease."

London said the day marked a small step in a long journey and it was his dream that one day when persons were tested there was a negative result than a positive one. "HIV/Aids must be dealt with in the light, not in the dark," he asserted.

Health Secretary Aldington Spencer said there needed to be a "burial" of HIV/Aids and it was the intention of the Assembly to make this a reality.

He said: "This day marks the nail in the coffin of the fight against the disease." He said it took time to officially launch the committee since the right kind of persons was needed to get the job done. Among those receiving instruments of appointment to serve on the committee were Pastor Rollin Bacchus, Jason Caesar, Sandra Orr and Ann Marie de Gazon.

© Tobago News

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