June 23, 2015
Friday is Regional Testing Day 2015 for HIV, AIDS

Regional Testing Day 2015 for HIV and AIDS is this Friday, June 26.

This year, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment will collaborate with the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership (CBMP), Scotia Bank and the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) to promote the Regional HIV Testing Day.{{more}} This Public/Private Partnership (PPP) is an important and effective model as the Caribbean strives to achieve an AIDS free generation, a release from the Ministry said.

“As the fight against the terror of this sexually transmitted disease continues, and as the Ministry of Health aims to realize a vision of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths, this initiative has become a significant event on the region’s calendar,” the release said.

This year represents the eighth year of commemorating Regional Testing Day across the Caribbean.

Some of the objectives of the initiative are: to increase public participation in the critical importance of voluntary counselling and testing, which is critical in preventing the spread of HIV infection, to mobilize the population to be tested and to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination.

Among populations at risk the tide is shifting. Increased access to HIV prevention services allows young people, drug abusers, homosexuals, sex workers etc to take control of their health for greater well-being.

HIV testing remains the key to slowing the HIV epidemic, as knowing one’s HIV status is one of the most important steps towards living a healthy lifestyle. Early diagnosis of HIV improves the prognosis, as earlier interventions would mean that one can live a longer, healthier and better life.

Persons are being encouraged to get tested. If the results are positive, then referrals will be made to an HIV specialist. Knowing one’s HIV status allows them to protect their partner as well as themselves. Synergies between prevention and treatment are speeding up progress. However, even if both persons are HIV positive, safer sex techniques must be used.

Designated testing centres are: the Chateaubelair Health Centre, the Stubbs Polyclinic, the Layou Health Centre, the Planned Parenthood Association and the Calliaqua Health Centre.

Knowing one’s HIV status allows persons to make informed decisions. Hence, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is extending an invitation to the general public to get tested and to know their status on this day.

Visit any of the designated testing sites between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday, June 26, 2015.