Today, the National AIDS Commission, the Belize Family Life Association, the Ministry of Health and the Special Envoy for Women and Children teamed up for a health fair.
The event was themed "The Best Defence is a Good Offense", and ti was timed to commemorate today's importance as the National Women and Girls HIV Awareness Day.
We stopped by and spoke with a representative from the NAC:
Arthur Usher - Communications/Programs OFC. NAC
"We are celebrating World Kidney Day as well as International Women's and Girls HIV Awareness Day. It's a collaborative effort between the kidney association and national aids commission, Ministry of Health and BFLA and also the special Envoy for Women and Children. So, what we are doing today is providing information as well as free testing in all these areas. Its open to the general public as well as youth, girls, women and anybody can come in and get the test. We do have blood pressure checks, we have kidney checks, we have HIV testing and with all this, we do have all the information, the follow up, the pre and posttest and whatever else information they may need. So each organization has their own booth and their own information sharing."
"For the most part, women and girls have better health seeking behaviors than men and boys. I think that is something cultural. We are working statistically, the information and the sharing of that information and the knowledge has grown. We are hoping that it translates to better health seeking behavior. Generally what you are seeing is a cultural fair or cultural issue in terms of maybe distrust with a system, they might not feel that the persons within the health system might hold their information to their confidentiality. I think that beside that, men tend to want to until the last minute to get any kind of health seeking behavior and for the most part that is a bad habit. Any physician, anyone would tell you, the earlier you get diagnosed, the quicker we can move on the fixing it. So, I think waiting too long is part of the culture and the idea that we don't need to go to the doctor or we are men and we are strong so we don't need that. That cultural dynamic hinders us from seeking help in general so it think, if we get information and the knowledge together and we say look it's something that we need to do to keep your strength, to be a man, be who you are supposed to be, you need to keep healthy."
The Health fair went until 2:00 in the afternoon.