National Army Reaches a Key Milestone In Addressing Health Risks for Soldiers

CWS Timor-Leste | January 11, 2017

In an important milestone event for Timor-Leste’s nation army (F-FDTL) its own doctors facilitated an HIV-STI education-information workshop along with HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) for about 100 people at its Metinaro training base near Dili. A key participant in the day’s activities was the base commander Lieutenant Colonel Benedito Dias Quintas, who was fully engaged and asking many questions – some for his own learning and others to reinforce key points for all participants.

While appreciating CWS local NGO Esperança staff support, one facilitator, Dr. Anabela da Cruz, said “This was the first time we led an HIV/AIDS info session with the base commander, and it was good for us because he could see our work – sharing information and doing testing, too.”  Another facilitator, Dr. Anacleto Soares, said that he was encouraged by the many questions asked, particularly about STI transmission and treatment, since there are quite a few cases of STI among the soldiers.

Importantly, the day’s efforts ended with sharing and reflection from an HIV+ Esperança staff member, Ignacio, who talked about his experience of living with HIV in Timor-Leste, and the ongoing efforts to reduce the stigma of living with HIV and discrimination that comes with it.

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