As part of the activities planned for the observation of World AIDS Day, a number of Government Ministries and agencies yesterday participated in a march and concert at the YMCA Building.
Delivering remarks at the concert was General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Jagnarine Singh, who explained that employees are under no legal obligation to disclose their HIV status to their employers, since HIV is not transmitted by casual contact, and they are not at risk to their fellow employees.
Currently, it is estimated that some 20,000 persons are HIV positive, and according to Singh, if half of that number works and produces $1,000 per day for five days a week, then for the year, they are contributing $2.6 billion to the economy.
“So let us do not discard them… They are our brothers and sisters. HIV does not recognise race, religion, sexual orientation, status. So be careful,” Singh said.
The General Manager explained the important role that education plays in spreading awareness of the infection, and urged for lifestyle changes which are necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
He added that when AIDS first emerged, no one could have predicted how the epidemic would spread across the world, and how many millions of lives it would change. Already, more than 25 million people around the world have died of AIDS-related diseases.
Last year, around 2.1 million men, women and children lost their lives. Thirty-three million people around the world are now living with HIV, and most of these are likely to die over the next decade or so.
It was noted that the most recent UNAIDS/WHO estimates show that, last year alone, 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV.
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