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There is no doubt that the fear surrounding the emerging HIV epidemic in the 1980s persists today. It is known as stigma and discrimination. In the 1980’s, very little was known about how HIV was  transmitted, which made people scared of those infected due to fear of contagion.  To date while time has evolved and there is much more information available about the disease one thing that has not changed is the stigma and discrimination that people suffering with HIV face.


And that is where CNET Belize comes in. According to Erika Castellanos, Director of CNET Belize, despite the difficulty in telling a person what to do when it comes to stigma and discrimination, CNET does its best to educate the general public so as to minimize the problem.


Screen_Shot_2015-07-28_at_8.22.21_PMErika Castellanos Director of C Net Belize


“Es difícil decirle a una persona que hacer, en nuestro país sabemos que los índices de estigma y discriminación digamos son un poco altos y todo este es por falta de educación el estigma y discriminación es fomentado por el desconocimiento a la salud y desconocimiento a la forma de transmisión y a las formas de prevención cuando no sabemos sobre un asunto nosotros estigmatizamos ese asunto entonces las personas con VIH frecuentemente dentro de sus familias son discriminadas sus amigos a veces pierden amigos entonces como nosotros con un arreglo que hacemos es el empoderamiento de la personas enfrentar y apoyar como enfrentar esa discriminación como poder decirle a sus familiares y sus parejas que son las personas y como enfrentar los retos que vivimos en una sociedad altamente discriminatoria.”


Across the country there are several organizations that are working arduously towards eradicating stigma and discrimination. In the case of Corozal there is the National Aids Commission Country Coordinating Mechanism (NACCM) Corozal Sub Committee.


Erika Castellanos Director of C Net Belize


“Hay grupos dentro de la estructura nacional algo que se llama el NACCM donde hay personal de salud y personas de organizaciones sociales que son parte y esto es un grupo que lidera las actividades a nivel distrito pero hay grupos comunitarios y tenemos uno de los puntos focales que es la red Centro Americana de personas con VIH que es de Corozal quien va hacer el punto de contacto en este proyecto que vamos a empezar de Julio a Diciembre que vamos a ofrecer ayuda sicosocial y también paquetes nutricionales que se les van a ofrecer a las personas como un incentivo para que mejoren su salud.”


Castellanos urges all persons who have not done an HIV test to do so. Anyone who is HIV positive and is interested in getting assistance is asked to contact 630-1900 or visit CNET Belize web page at www.cnetbelize.com.

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