On Wednesday, 13 July 2016, the Leo Club of St Andrew in collaboration with the Valley Youth Group and the Ministry of Health hosted the clubs’ first annual STI (Sexually transmitted infection) awareness seminar / panel discussion at Bain’s Upper Level in Grenville, St Andrew.
The month of July was designated STI Prevention month and this year’s theme was “STIs-We can Prevent them”. In keeping with the theme the panel discussion topic was, “Sexual activity seems to be starting at an earlier age and with it comes sexually transmitted infections among teens and children as young as 10 years old. What can be done to reverse this trend and save our youth from what could be deadly infections?”
The panel consisted of a representative from the Ministry of Health Judy Benoit, KizzyAnn Abraham a sexual health activist from GrenCHAP & GrenAIDS, Keymar McCollin a visiting lifestyle volunteer & theology student, Pastor Samuel Niles from the Grenville Pentecostal Lighthouse, Aria Gibbs a recent graduate of the St Joseph’s Convent St George’s, and a member of the Leo Club of St Andrew. The panelist and attendees engaged in dynamic educational conversations concerning key areas such as the prevalence of transactional sex, STI related stigma, sexual abuse, gender roles and the importance for social and educational reform when approaching the topic of sexual education in schools.
From these discussions it was evident that the major focus point for future activities should be on education. Most individuals although aware of some STIs such as HIV, they are not equally educated on the risks and prevalence involved with other STIs such as HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Hence, the Leo Club of St Andrew and the Valley Youth Group have made it their mission to continue educating the public on STIs. One programme which has already been implemented by both groups is the weekly distribution of condoms and informative leaflets in the town of Grenville.