Address by the Honourable Jahnel Nisbett
Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration
on the occasion of World AIDS Day 2023
December 01, 2023
Today, December 01, we celebrate World AIDS Day under the powerful theme, “Let Communities Lead”. This theme encapsulates the essence of our collective responsibility, determination, and solidarity in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
As we reflect on the progress made and the challenges that persist, it is crucial to recognize the pivotal role that communities play in shaping the response to HIV/AIDS. Communities are the heartbeat of resilience, compassion, and
innovation. They are the driving force behind the progress we have achieved thus far and the foundation upon which we must build a future free from the burden of HIV/AIDS.
Communities are not just recipients of services; they are active agents of change. They possess unique insights, local knowledge, and a deep understanding of the cultural dynamics that influence the spread of HIV/AIDS. It is within communities that stigma is challenged, misconceptions are dispelled, and support systems are established.
At this time, I take a moment to applaud the support from our local NGO’s such as SKN Alliance, SKN Cares and the Renal Society who sit on the National Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS (NACHA).
To truly make strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS, we must empower communities to take the lead. This involves providing them with the resources, tools, and knowledge necessary to drive local initiatives, advocate for policy
change, and deliver effective prevention and treatment services. It means creating an environment where the voices of those most affected are not only heard but also amplified.
Communities such as church youth and sports groups can create spaces for open dialogue, offering comprehensive sex education and promoting safe behaviors to ensure the younger generation is well-informed and equipped to protect themselves.
Through education and open conversations, individuals can challenge misconceptions, dispel myths, and create an environment of acceptance and support.
The theme “Let Communities Lead” is a call to action for governments, organizations, and individuals alike. It is a call to invest in community-led programs, to break down barriers that hinder community engagement, and to foster an inclusive approach that respects and values the diversity within communities.
In tandem with community-based efforts, the Ministry of Health will spearhead a number of initiatives aimed at raising awareness and reducing the spread of HIV/AIDs.
1. December 01 is earmarked to: Paint the Town Red – where individuals areencouraged to wear something red, post it to the Nevis HPU Facebook page and use the hashtag #WAD2023Nevis.
- Free HIV Rapid Testing will also be available from 9AM to 4PM today December 01 at the Nevis Health Promotion Unit.
- December 08, 8PM -11PM will feature an Adult Game Night in collaboration with SKN Alliance at the Zanzibar rooftop.
On this World AIDS Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to a future without HIV/AIDS. The fight against HIV is not only a global effort but also a community- driven one. Let us recognize the strength within communities and harness it as a powerful force for change.
Together, we can, and will, build a world where every person, regardless of their background or circumstances, can lead a healthy and fulfilling life.