Recently CWS—Timor Leste defense forces team took the ferry to Atauro Island to lead an HIV info-sharing and education session at the national Navy post there. Atauro is a small island just 25 kilometers north of TimorLeste’s capital, Dili. Master Seaman Sebastiao Soares, the commander of the island post, said we was very appreciative that the HIV education outreach team took time to prioritize a trip there. “Everybody should have correct information to protect themselves from HIV, [especially] members of our armed forces, who are unfortunately at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). Also, personally, I want to pass this information on to my family when I am back home because everyone needs to know information about HIV and AIDS and other STI,” said Sebastiao.
The focus of CWS partnership with the Timor Leste defense department is not just soldiers and sailors, but also their families and neighbors who are also affected, like military families and friends the world over, by the continuing risks of HIV / STI transmission. While much progress has been made during the decades since the HIV/AIDS epidemic exploded around the world, vigilance and education, which CWS has been supporting in Timor Leste for many years, is still needed, especially in remote and often forgotten places like Atauro Island.
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