Throughout the month of May the National AIDS Commission (NAC) / Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Island Committee along with the Pan American Social Marketing Organization (PASMO) and the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II realized several outreach activities throughout the San Pedro community. Reaching thousands, and testing nearly one hundred individuals, the team’s efforts spread sexual health knowledge, made individuals aware of their HIV status and established contact with both the general population and at-risk populations.
Sexual health education presentations were given at six distinct bars and construction sites. With the help of nurses from Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II the committee made fast, free and confidential HIV testing available to anyone who wanted to know their status.
The month of May also brought a large scale event to San Mateo. The committee along with its partners set up tents within the community; for an entire day the team’s goal was to reach as many San Mateo community members as possible. NAC/CCM Island Committee volunteers also went door-to-door encouraging the public to stop by and take a look at all the resources the committee offers. Pamphlets on reproductive health, information regarding safe sex practices, and presentations on proper use of barrier contraceptives were among the many activities offered.
The committee met some challenges throughout the various outreaches including the lack of literature and pamphlet information in Spanish and a lack of access to latex-free condoms. NAC/CCM Island Committee Secretary Omar Solis on the issues: “We are working diligently to communicate our community’s concerns to the organizations that support us in order to meet the needs of our community. It is thrilling that the community is engaging us and asking for specific resources. This is a huge step forward for both the committee and community in order to provide better services.”
In total nearly 100 individuals were tested in the month of May and as mentioned before, thousands were reached through a combination of mediums including The Morning Show, The San Pedro Sun Newspaper, Ambergris Today Online Media, mobile testing services, community outreaches and social media. NAC/CCM Island Committee would like to thank the following organizations and businesses for their humble support: Reef TV, Ambergris Today, The San Pedro Sun, Gecko Graphics, Ultimate Golf Cart Rentals, Carts Belize, the San Pedro Town Council, the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II, Councilor Kenrick Bracket, our volunteers, businesses and residents that welcome our services.
NAC/CCM Island Committee exists as a branch of the National Aids Commission (NAC) and as such follows the guidelines established in the NAC’s National Strategic Plan. The NAC/CCM Island Committee focuses on reducing the number of new HIV infections; extending the length and quality of life of peoples living with HIV; eliminating discrimination against persons vulnerable to HIV; and coordinating a multi-spectral response that is human rights based.