Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) has ramped up activities to mark Safer Sex Week in a bid to
encourage more persons to use condoms and engage in safer sex practices year-round, in particular
during this time of year.
Observed during the week of February 11-17, Safer Sex Week eclipses Condom Day and Valentine’s
Day, which will both be celebrated on Wednesday. The day is also in recognition of the tendency by
some individuals to engage in risky sexual behaviours including refusing to use a condom, practices
which make them vulnerable for HIV and other STIs.
In a 2012 Knowledge and Activities Survey, 46.9 per cent of persons surveyed said they did not use a
condom when engaging in sexual intercourse with their significant other as they “love” and “trust”
JASL’s Safer Sex Week activities, which kicked off (Sunday) with a health fair at the Negril
Convention Centre moved into high gear yesterday (Monday) with condom demonstrations,
sensitisation sessions, HIV testing and a wealth of information on safer sex practices for students and
faculty at the Montego Bay Community Centre.
Meanwhile, in St. Ann, the intervention team took to the streets with their test kits for ‘Walk, Talk
and Test’, engaging persons and providing on-the-spot HIV and syphilis tests to residents of St. Ann’s
Bay and its environs.
JASL, which will wrap up its week of activities (see enclosed full list of activities for the week) with a
mass testing in Mandela Park in Half Way Tree on Friday and in Lucea, Hanover on Saturday, is
encouraging persons to get tested in order to know their HIV status as the ultimate demonstration of
their love for their partners.
Approximately 30,000 Jamaicans are living with HIV however, about 15 per cent of those infected do
not know they are carrying the virus.
Jamaica AIDS Support for Life provides a wide range of HIV & AIDS-related support services, free
of cost, through its chapters in Kingston, St. Ann’s Bay and Montego Bay.
Activities for this year’s Safer Sex Week are funded by AIDS Healthcare Foundation.