Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 01, 2015 (SKNIS): Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Honourable Wendy Phipps, is encouraging residents of St. Kitts and Nevis to exercise sexual responsibility as the Federation acknowledges World AIDS Day, December 01.
“I call on all citizens and residents of our Federation to do his or her part to bring an end to AIDS,” Minister Phipps said. “Let us lead by example in practicing safe sex, in rising above stigma and discrimination – since AIDS can affect and infect anyone, and in ensuring that we continue on a path toward healthy and wholesome lifestyles, and national productivity and competitiveness that is underpinned by a healthy workforce and general population.”
Minister Phipps described residents’ access to care, treatment and counselling as “not a luxury – it is a requirement dictated by the rules of social justice.”
During her World AIDS Day message, the Minister responsible for Health said that World AIDS Day is an opportunity to “hear from those affected by the disease, including victims and their families; caregivers; social programmers; HIV/AIDS orphans and governments and business leaders.” She added that due to HIV/AIDS, businesses suffer losses that decrease competitiveness at the national level and higher financial resources have to be spent in the care of persons affected and afflicted by the disease.
The Minister further noted that at the national level, the National AIDS Secretariat continues “undaunted in its mission to sensitize and educate persons on the facts about the disease; to facilitate testing; and to promote healthier lifestyles and safe sexual practices while sustaining its approaches to reducing stigma and discrimination.”
It was stated that the infection rate has stabilized with an average of 12 to 15 new cases of HIV confirmed over the past five years. Health professionals, corporate entities and community organisations were commended for this achievement.
“Moreover, St. Kitts and Nevis will shortly join a number of other Caribbean countries that have successfully attained the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis,” Minister Phipps said. “Commendations are certainly in order for all of our national health care providers and in particular the officers of the National HIV/AIDS Programme. Sincere appreciation must also be documented for the private sector, other civil society organisations, and like-minded agencies whose membership have collaborated with Government in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”