27 Jan 2012 Jamaica: Reduce Stigma and Discrimination using Communication!
Women’s Media Watch (WMW), Jamaica
Jamaica’s HIV prevalence rate is high and on the increase, particularly among women and youth. Recent Ministry of Health studies have identified lack of information among faith community leaders in Jamaica, a country that is predominantly Christian. There is also hesitation in congregations to be inclusive of persons believed to be HIV positive. Fear of stigma and discrimination prevent many within faith communities from disclosing their HIV status and from seeking support. The Church’s impact on Jamaican values and norms is considerably influential and thus it becomes important to rally faith communities in the response to HIV and AIDS. The Ministry of Health research in 2010-2011 identified a demand from the religious leaders for more sensitization because of the continued discomfort and increase of the pandemic within their communities. The project by Women’s Media Watch (WMW) will build the capacity of 32 faith community leaders to implement communication strategies to increase their congregation and communities’ knowledge of the harm done by stigma and discrimination against people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS. The project will lay particular emphasis on gender issues and the importance of the involvement of women, one of the most at risk populations in faith communities. WMW is a non-governmental organization established to promote gender equity and reduce gender-based violence in Jamaica. WMW has developed an integrated approach that includes training and advocacy on gender, sexuality and HIV and AIDS.
Contact: Ms Kameela Abdul-Maajid