Students from schools across Central and South Abaco met at the St. Francis de Sales Catholic School campus to form the Human Ribbon in observance of Worlds AIDS Day on Dec. 6.
Sandy Edwards of the Dept. of Education listed HIV/AIDS statistics before introducing Nurses Natasha Pennerman and Tamaris Newton of the National HIV/AIDS Centre as well as Carlene Smith of The Bahamas AIDS Foundation as guest speakers.
Nurse Pennerman, who works with children who are infected with HIV, offered tips on how to avoid contracting the disease. She was pleased that there has been a 34 percent decrease in HIV infections as well as a 40-percent decrease in AIDS-related deaths.
Since 1991, the Human Ribbon also known as “The Red Ribbon Project” has been the symbol of support and compassion for those who are living with the disease and for their caregivers.
At the end of her presentation, Nurse Pennerman encouraged all of the participants to declare that: “HIV stops with me!”
During her remarks, Smith informed the students that The Bahamas AIDS Foundation is the biggest organization that helps people living with HIV or AIDS in the country, and it is a great support system for them.
Josephine Kumar, principal of St. Francis de Sales, closed out the session by welcoming all visitors to the school’s campus. She noted that St. Francis has been observing World AIDS Day for the past 12 years.
“This is a celebration because we are doing something for the world,” Kumar said. “Some of the kids sacrificed their money for their T-shirts.”
Students from Every Child Counts, Agape Christian School, Crossing Rocks Primary and Horizons Academy joined St. Francis students to form the human ribbon. The World AIDS delegation travelled to Treasure Cay Primary School to meet with North Abaco schools namely Cooper’s Town Primary and S.C. Bootle High School for their World AIDS Ceremony.