I grabbed this photo from another blog because I had wanted to take a picture of it while we were there but never got a chance. This is on one of the main highways on the south side of the island, just east of Bridgetown.
[Now I am going to let my white, American, upper-middle class privilege show.]
Where I live in Austin, I don’t see HIV/AIDS or any STD prevention campaigns. It’s not something that is on my radar. From what I can gather from the internet, Austin has a “normal” percentage of people living with HIV/AIDS:
An estimated 470,902 people were living with AIDS in America in 2007. The highest numbers were in California, Florida, New York State and Texas. Among the 50 states, the lowest numbers were in Vermont, South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota. […]
AIDS diagnosis rates in Florida, Maryland and Louisiana were much higher than the national average of 12.3 cases per 100,000 population per year.
Therefore, while we were in Barbados, I found myself keenly aware of the large prevention campaign that seemed to cover the island. There were trees in a national park that had signs all over them saying “I will wait because I am worth it.” The National Archives, where I worked for a week, had almost nothing on the walls except for two different posters, one that encouraged the use of condoms and one that tried to get across the point that you can’t tell who has AIDS just by looking at them. There are posters in bus stops and bathrooms. And, of course, there is this giant sign above.
And now, doing just a tiny bit of internet research, I find that Barbados launched their “Protect Your Wicket” campaign because
The Caribbean region has the highest HIV prevalence among adults outside Sub-Saharan Africa. Barbados has achieved significant results in the prevention and control of the epidemic, and new AIDS cases and AIDS mortality have significantly declined (46 percent and 72 percent, respectively) since the introduction of anti-retroviral treatment in 2001, however, estimated HIV prevalence continues to increase. It is projected that the HIV prevalence rate in Barbados increased from 1.3 percent in 2001 to 1.5 percent in 2005. This is due in part to the increasing survival rate of people receiving treatment, but also to inadequate adoption of safer sexual practices. [via]
For more information on HIV/AIDS prevention in Barbados:
- Protect Your Wicket! (Mar 2007)
- “It’s Your Wicket, Protect It! (July 2007)
- Time to Strengthen HIV/AIDS Prevention (Feb 2009)
- UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Office – HIV Prevention and Life Skills
- Health Minister Urges Men to Get Tested for HIV (June 2010)
- Barbados HIV/AIDS food bank and personal development centre first in region (Oct 2009)
- Barbados: Ministry of Health Scaling Up HIV Services (Aug 2009)
- Young Caribbean women have HIV infection rates far higher than males their own age (Apr 2010)
- Caribbean HIV/AIDS Alliance (CHAA) Officially Launched in Barbados (Mar 2009)
- Barbados hails the ILO’s recommendations on the development of HIV/AIDS in the world of work (June 2010)