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World-AIDS-Day-2014-Theme-imageOn December first, Belize joined the world in observing World Aids Day. The event has been observed worldwide since 1988 to celebrate those who have lost their lives to the virus, celebrate the work achieved and to recommit to ending the epidemic. Here in Orange Walk Town, this year the HIV/AIDS Committee organized an entire week of activities for these very purposes. Today, representatives were at the Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Center conducting outreach. Nurse Veronica Ortega, who works at the VCT center at the Northern Regional Hospital, was heading the team there.

Veronica Ortega – Nurse, VCT, NRH

“Since the HIV Prevalence is higher in the male population so we think that coming to ITVET is a good means of trying to get this young male to get tested.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“What has been the response or are they willing to take because I know that some people are very reluctant and have a lot of reasons behind that, but is their response?”

Veronica Ortega – Nurse, VCT, NRH

“Presently we just started and we are getting a good response from the people and I guess more young people are coming and it is something that they are accepting easily, they willingly come and they do their HIV test and without any hesitation at all.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“Is this something that you are doing in other institutions?”

Veronica Ortega – Nurse, VCT, NRH

“Yes, we have started from the 1st of December; we were at Technical, we were at the Park and we are here now and I think Tuesday we will be in San Lazaro for cultural school right so we should be there too.”


The campaign will end next Tuesday. The committee has been conducting these activities on an annual basis and according to Nurse Ortega the response improves every year, which is good news especially since their target group is male.

Veronica Ortega – Nurse, VCT, NRH

“We have actually have gotten a good response, we have gotten more people getting tested and more males actually, we were doing the statistics for the past activities and we are actually having the males tying up with the females, before it was more females getting tested and well they are more open that  before.  I encourage the public to get tested, it doesn’t have to be on this especial days but it is there at any hospital you can get tested it is ten minutes and you can get your results immediately.”

“Getting to Zero” is the theme selected by the World AIDS Campaign, WAC, since 2011and it will be used until 2015. The theme echoes the UNAIDS vision of achieving “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.” According to reports, the theme was selected following extensive consultations among people living with HIV, health activists and civil society organizations.

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