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December 24, 2008

Chess Checkmates HIV in the Caribbean

Leslie-Ann Nelson, the president of Kids Chess Academy and founder of the Save Our Children Foundation in Arima, Trinidad, has started a program called Chess Battles HIV/AIDS to raise awareness about prevention among young people, reports Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday.

In addition to teaching young people to protect themselves from the disease, the program also fight AIDS stigma. “Discrimination and stigma continue, and it is important that we discuss all aspects of discrimination,” Nelson said.

The chess program is not designed to be competitive, but rather a means for children to engage in conversation and be peer leaders for one another. “Every child today is growing up in a world where AIDS is a devastating reality,” said Nelson, who hopes that more youths—especially girls—and volunteers will get involved in the future.

According to Averting.com, about 230,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean at the end of 2007. During that year, some 20,000 people were newly infected and 14,000 died from the disease.

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