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Youth take spotlight on World AIDS Day

Jamaica Gleaner / On World AIDS Day, commemorated last Friday, the National Family Planning Board (NFPB) and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation focused on engaging youth as a means to educate and raise awareness of HIV/AIDS among the younger generation.

This year’s observance of World AIDS Day saw a host of activities for youth, including a song and visual arts competition. Finalists for the competition were invited to perform their song entries and display their artwork at the World AIDS Day health fair titled ‘Arts, Health and Wellness in the Park’, which was held at Emancipation Park.

“The competition allowed for us to identify any gaps in our educational messages as it relates to HIV/AIDS among our youth. The entries we received clearly demonstrate that our youth fully understand what HIV is, how it is transmitted, how to prevent it, and even how stigma and discrimination affect persons living with HIV. This is excellent. We only need now for these young persons to become advocates for change in their own communities” said RenÈe Gauntlett, communications and public relations officer at the NFPB.

The winners of the song competition were the Greater Portmore Ensemble of Greater Portmore High School in the 10-15 age group and Tyrel Cammock of Excelsior High School in the 16-25 age group. The winners of the visual arts competition were Odain Bryan of Bridgeport High School in the 10-15 age group and Haleem Lazarus of Pembroke Hall High School in the 16-25 age group.

Throughout the day, persons who visited Emancipation Park were privy to free health checks, educational material, and entertainment. The day ended with live performances by Tivoli Dance Troupe, Devin Di Dakta, gospel artiste Kukudoo, and Rising Stars winner Short Boss, among others.

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