Jamaican Shopkeeper Refuses to Sell to People With HIV

by Steve Weinstein
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Jan 25, 2010

A letter in the Jamaica Observer has revealed a disturbing report. A letter to Rosie Stone, a columnist with HIV who writes on AIDS issues, mentions the shopkeeper, in the St. James area of Jamaica.

Stone responds that many Jamaicans believe that any contact, not only with someone who has HIV, but even touching something they have touched, would lead to infection.

She relates the story of her sister's coworker refusing a piece of cake because she had baked it. And someone told her at book signing, "I am afraid of you, I'm really afraid of you." Stone is the author of No Stone Unturned, in which she details how she contracted HIV from her late husband.

Stone has taken a leading role in attempting to educate Jamaicans about HIV and AIDS, as has Jason Richards. Richards, 23, is working with the nation's Ministry of Health to promote an anti-stigma campaign. Ainsley Reid is another in the publicity campaign.

Meanwhile, a suspect in the murder of British diplomat John Terry has been apprehended. The suspect was described only as a security guard, 23, with no name given by The Jamaica Observer, which reported the break in the case.

U.K. honorary consul, John Terry was found strangled in his home, along with a note warning that "ALL gays" would suffer the same fate back in September. The note also referred to the 65-year-old Terry as a "batty man," or homosexual. The note was scrawled by hand and signed, "Gay-Man," the report said.

Jamaica is routinely described as the most homophobic nation in the Western nation by human-rights groups. The climate pervades official channels like the government and the police, as well as the private sector, such as work, religion, housing and street life.

Gay men are taken out and beaten. A well-known lesbian advocate was murdered. And the musical culture is permeated with anti-gay references.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).


  • Kiara Mont, 2010-02-24 21:03:44

    Educating the people and increasing the awareness about the virus and the infection is perhaps the best means of preventing the disease. The use of condoms during sexual contact can greatly reduce the risk of infection. By avoiding dangerous practices such as sharing syringes, and needles for intravenous drug use, direct inoculation of the virus into the blood stream could be prevented. Proper STD testing is a surest way to find out your sexual conditions. source:

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