Man Up! a video competition being organised by the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, in collaboration with UNAIDS, has received high praise from Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett.
As he addressed the Media Launch for the competition, which was held at UN House, Blackett affirmed his support for the initiative, which, through the Live Up! Youtube channel, aims to introduce online discussions on a range of issues pertaining to men and masculinity.
“A media that appeals to youth with messages they can identify with, is an excellent way of reaching our youth. I, therefore, strongly support this approach especially because of the implications for achieving a wide reach into the targeted population of the youth,” the minister stated. “It is imperative that we target men more in our programming…as it relates to issues of health, gender, and inequality.”
He said there is a view that there was an insufficient dissemination of information on men’s health, sex and sexuality issues.
“It is, therefore, important that we hear from men, and especially our young men, what are some of the challenges facing them,” he added.
Blackett also deemed the competition timely, as efforts were under way to educate young males about HIV and AIDS.
“We must intensify our efforts and increase our strategies aimed at reducing sexually transmitted infections and HIV in Barbados… The 2008 Barbados Surveillance Report from the Ministry of Health showed that men are constantly outnumbering women among the newly diagnosed cases of HIV each year.
“Based on the facts from [the report], it would seem to suggest that we must be more concerned about men and develop strategies directed at promoting and encouraging better health seeking practices,” he reasoned.
The minister pointed out that the Live-up Campaign had been successful in reaching young people through the mass media, and welcomed the CBMP’s offer to partner with Government in the fight against the HIV epidemic.
“This partnership will complement our inter-sectoral approach to HIV initiatives, in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the UNAIDS target of reaching a stage of zero new infections, deaths and discrimination from this disease,” he noted.