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Breaking the Taboo

Minister of Health Mark Scotland

"Ignorance is NOT bliss when it comes to HIV and AIDS," said Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture Mark Scotland at this week's launch of the Red Cross initiative Breaking the Taboo- A Community Effort to Start the Dialogue.

"In fact, such ignorance inevitably leads to misconceptions, myths and stigmas - a combination that makes it virtually impossible to fight the disease," he continued.

He said although most find HIV/AIDS a difficult topic to discuss at home, in school or church, Cayman's young people need to have candid conversations on this topic.

"Because official figures show low infection levels in Cayman, many tend to think HIV and AIDS are not priority health issues. However, we need to remind ourselves that official statistics only reflect those tested; actual figures may well be higher. In addition, our local aids activists and public health officials tell us that if current sexual behaviors do not change here, then HIV/AIDS will become an increasingly serious problem," he continued.

Mr Scotland said his ministry will continue to support the drive for sexual health education as this represents a critical element in securing a better future for Cayman's youth.

"My call to everyone is: Learn to talk about this subject. Talk about safe sex, talk about low-risk behaviour; talk about the stigma and the need for annual testing, because in the end we are talking about our people, and especially the collective future of our precious young people," Mr Scotland concluded.

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver