Pledge campaign against HIV
Stabroek News
February 21, 2004

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The Ministry of Health yesterday initiated another HIV and AIDS awareness campaign inviting every Guyanese to sign a pledge to take immediate action to prevent its spread and to respect people living with the virus.

'ME to YOU: Reach One-Save One' is the name of the new campaign, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Population Services International (PSI).

The campaign was introduced to the media yesterday at the Ministry of Health while an official launch will be held on March 15.

According to acting Minister of Health, Dr Jennifer Westford, by signing the pledge, persons are seriously committing to taking action by learning more about HIV, committing to share information with those close to them and committing to take individual responsibility for preventing its spread.

The campaign's target is to collect well over 100,000 signatures. In sharing the pledge, people are encouraged to talk to others about positive actions that could prevent more infections.

The campaign is expected to run up to December and the co-ordinators would then decide on their next move.

There will be a soft launch on Monday when volunteers will mingle with the Mash Day crowds, to inform and collect pledges for the campaign. Students from the Mercy Wings School in Sophia will be sharing out information during the celebrations and there will be an information booth on the Merriman Mall.

Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sonya Roopnauth said the campaign was the idea of Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy who is away from his office due to a recent heart operation.

Individuals will write their names above words pledging "to take immediate action to prevent the spread of HIV and to respect persons living with HIV and AIDS." There are four positive actions they are advised to take and these are to abstain, use a condom, be faithful and be counselled and tested.