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The fight against HIV/Aids goes on despite pandemic

Star: Carolyn Armstrong, a counsellor for people with HIV and Aids, outside the Light House in Smith's (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

A charity marked World Aids Day yesterday with a plea to remember to care for people with HIV and Aids despite the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Carolyn Armstrong, the executive director for Supportive Therapy for Persons with Aids and their Relatives, said: “The last pandemic was the Aids pandemic and we are applauding those championing, surviving and thriving.”

Ms Armstrong said Star had focused its efforts on fundraising this year and is will hold a household sale at the weekend.

Money raised will go towards the Light House in Smith’s Parish, a home for people with HIV/Aids.

Ms Armstrong added: “Our next initiative is to make contact with families of those who have passed to let them know that Bermuda has not forgotten them.”

She said: “We have eight beds at Light House and seven are filled. We are doing well.

“We still have many clients in the community who we reach out to.”

Ms Armstrong added the charity’s Christmas drive would start next Monday.

She said: “ We will be delivering 40 hampers to the children and grandchildren of those we have lost.”

Ms Armstrong appealed to the public to make food and cash donations and said that Light House is in need of new furniture.

She said: “People can continuously make donations – there are more people in the community who really need the support this year.”

It is estimated that there are 301 HIV positive people in Bermuda at present.

There were two new HIV diagnoses reported in 2019 and two so far this year.

There were fewer than 10 new HIV diagnoses reported a year from 2011 to 2019.

The Ministry of Health said 783 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Bermuda since 1982.

A total of 571 have had a diagnosis of Aids and 482 people have died as a result of infection.

Aids is the late stage of HIV infection that happens when the body's immune system is damaged as a result of the virus.

The theme for this year’s World Aids Day was “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility”.

The World Health Organisation appealed to world leaders and people to rally for “global solidarity” to make sure that HIV services were maintained over the pandemic crisis and the continued provision of services for those most at risk from the disease.

The organisation also asked countries to provide health workers with greater protection so they can continue their work over the pandemic.

The Star household sale will be held between 9am and 5pm on Friday and Saturday at 131 South Road, Smith’s.

To donate to Star, call 292-5941 or 335-4265.

For more information about the charity, visit its website here.

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Published December 02, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 01, 2020 at 5:29 pm)

The fight against HIV/Aids goes on despite pandemic

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