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Persons who deliberately spread HIV virus should be prosecuted – Pumpkin

Persons who deliberately spread HIV virus should be prosecuted – Pumpkin
Sydney Joseph, a local HIV animator

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Sydney Joseph, a local HIV animator is calling for persons who deliberately spread the virus in St Vincent and the Grenadines to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Joseph visited SEARCHLIGHT this week to talk about his plans for World AIDS day, which will be observed this Sunday, December 1.

The HIV animator, who is popularly known as Pumpkin, said that his job involves helping to improve the lives of persons in this country who live with HIV.

“What I am seeing now in St Vincent…I am seeing deliberate spread of HIV. People deliberately infecting others,” the community worker claimed, adding that laws against such behaviour need to be enforced.

Joseph further supported his call for persons to be prosecuted by citing the recently released Charter of Patients Rights and Responsibilities, which includes a clause: “in the matter of health, as in all other matters, the individual is always subject to the rule of law.”

The activist said that if this is done, it will allow for proper contact tracing to be put in place so that persons living with HIV and who may be unaware can receive the necessary assistance.

Joseph also reminded persons who are living with the virus that there are various avenues to receive assistance whether through the National AIDS Secretariat under the Ministry of Health; Care SVG, a support group; or the public in general.

“They have to remember they are not alone…I will make sure as long as God gives me life, I will work for them but there’s a behaviour change standard they should meet…because when you work with people…my work is to make change,” he said.

The HIV animator, who himself has been living with HIV for almost two decades, encouraged persons to keep up the fight by maintaining clinic appointments, taking antiretroviral treatment, always using condoms correctly and supporting peers.

To commemorate World AIDS Day 2019, Joseph would like to extend condolences to the loved ones of persons who have died from the virus.

He also intends to use white candles in red holders to create the AIDS ribbon outside of the Kingstown Cemetery on Sunday evening in memory of those persons.

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