Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 01, 2015 (SKNIS): Minister of State with responsibility for Health Honourable Wendy Phipps has identified with the HIV/AIDS 90/90/90 by 2020 Target stating that it is attainable.
“While some of these milestones are incremental, they are certainly attainable by dint of sheer hard work,” Minister Phipps said. “This benchmark calls for a tri-fold accomplishment of testing 90 percent of all persons living with HIV so they can know their status, having 90 percent of those persons tested and diagnosed with HIV to be referred to care and anti-retroviral treatment; and also ensuring that 90 percent of those receiving anti-retroviral treatment have test-confirmed, viral suppression of their illness.”
Minister Phipps said that this target “is an imperative for ensuring that the AIDS epidemic ends by the year 2030,” and encouraged all residents to do their part.
“To achieve this, however, we need all hands on deck, now, in the fight against AIDS,” she said, referring to a quote by UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, who emphasized the “Urgency of Now,” stating that “AIDS is about social justice, is about global health, maternal health, child health … [that it] is about human rights of people.”
In identifying what was taking place locally, in commemoration of the World AIDS Day, Minister Phipps revealed that several activities had already taken place.
“These include school visits between November 16 – 27 with particular focus on primary school children in grades five and six,” she said, revealing that the target audience was deliberately selected to reach children before they became sexually active. “Other programmes are also planned throughout the month of December 7 – 11, 2015, in an effort to facilitate voluntary counselling and testing for HIV/AIDS. The week of activities will climax on Friday, December 11, in Independence Square.”
It was also noted that the National AIDS Secretariat would be busy during the National Carnival celebrations encouraging all persons to “party sensibly and avoid unsafe sexual activity.” In concluding her message, Minister Phipps wished residents a “peaceful, safe and festive Christmas and Carnival Season.”