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ITF activists tackle HIV/AIDS on cruise ships

03 Jul 2014
The first ever group of HIV resource persons/peer educators working on cruise ships vowed to strengthen and protect their friends and colleagues at a cruise ship seminar in Cebu, Philippines last week.

Eighty five seafarers from across the world attended the seminar, run by the NSU (Norwegian Seafarers’ Union) in cooperation with the ITF, FIT-CISL (Federazione Italiana Trasporti) and AMOSUP (The Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines).

The seminars were launched eight years ago as a forum for seafarers to learn more about their rights and obligations at sea. They also provide an opportunity for seafarers to share experiences and learn from each other.
 
The HIV resource person/peer educator group will use the knowledge and experiences they gained in Cebu to spread awareness of HIV/AIDS issues among colleagues on board ships.
 
The seminars are now held in the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Jamaica. Organisers plan to create similar  networks at forthcoming events in India, Indonesia and Jamaica.
 
Ciela Mae S Roja, who works on the cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway, was one of the pioneer HIV resource peer educators. Speaking from the meeting, she said: "I want to spread the knowledge among my fellow workers, because HIV/AIDS is a reality. I think my intervention will help my fellow friends to be educated enough to take control of their lives and be safe."
 
Also at the event was NSU president Jacqueline Smith who explained that the events were constantly evolving and that this group of HIV resource person/peer educators was another step in that evolution, and would improve seafarers' lives.
 
Get more information on HIV/AIDS, including downloadable resources, from the HIV/AIDS section of the ITF global website. If you want to attend a seminar, contact the organisers at seminars@nsu.org

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