UNICEF Jamaica Project Officer wins Young Investigator Prize for AIDS research
Penelope Campbell, Project Officer in the UNICEF office in Jamaica is the first winner of the Young Investigator Prize in the area of Women, Girls and AIDS which has been awarded by the International AIDS Society.
The award was presented to Miss Campbell on Monday, August 14, 2006 at the plenary session of the International AIDS Conference being held in Toronto, Canada. The Young Investigator Prize: Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS highlights the challenges faced by women and girls by encouraging women investigators from resource-limited settings to pursue HIV/AIDS research.
Geeta Rao Gupta, President of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, which co-founded the award, , stated that Miss Campbell epitomizes the hard work and skills that thousands of women researchers demonstrate each and every day.
The UNICEF Project Officer who manages the programme for Adolescent Development and Participation and HIV/AIDS in the Jamaica office, won as a result of a baseline study on the establishment of a mobile unit providing HIV/AIDS/STI information, skills and services to vulnerable adolescents in Jamaica. The research was undertaken in August 2005 after Children First, an NGO in Spanish Town approached UNICEF for support in establishing a mobile service to reach 5,000 vulnerable adolescents along major transport and HIV/STI prevalent locations. Interviews were conducted among 451 young people ranging from 10-19 years and the results showed that although 48% of the respondents were sexually active, only 19% accessed sexual reproductive health services.
The UNICEF Representative in Jamaica Bertrand Bainvel in congratulating Miss Campbell on the award said that he was extremely proud that one of its most talented staff had received such a high recognition.
"Prevention among adolescents is absolutely key if we want to see a reverse in the spread of the epidemic in the world and especially in Jamaica. Every adolescent must be given the right to know how to protect themselves from HIV, and this includes the right to know their status – this is the message carried out by the Bashy Bus. The Bus proves that it is necessary, feasible and effective. Primary prevention among adolescents is one of the four pillars of the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS along with reduction of mother to child transmission, access to paediatric treatment and support to children made orphans or affected by HIV. The Bashy Bus is an illustration of the creativity and commitment of Jamaica – a champion country in the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS", he added.
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