Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 26, 2018 (SKNIS): Be proactive, take the test and be empowered to live a healthier sexual life is the mantra of the Ministry of Health and its National AIDS Programme for its annual HIV National Testing Day, which will be held on Friday, June 29, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at West Independence Square.
This annual event, which has been held for 10 years in the month of June, is the ministry’s contribution to the regional initiative in encouraging persons to get tested for HIV. The event also facilitates the care of persons who are HIV positive.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Health, the event “offers an opportunity for the general public, inclusive of persons who may feel they are at risk or been exposed to the virus, to receive professional counselling, fast and efficient testing. Persons are encouraged to bring their partners and significant/or others, for the opportunity to start and maintain a healthy sexual life.”
The ministry has stated that there might be some concerns about discussing an individual’s private affairs in a public setting. However, persons can rest assured that if they test positive, they will receive confidential information on their risk, ways to protect themselves and others, care and treatment referrals and support. All counselors and testers are trained and certified.
“Knowing one’s HIV status can be frightening and yet empowering,” says officials from the Ministry of Health. “Whether positive or negative, having that knowledge, one can take proactive steps in improving one’s health.”
It was noted that HIV testing is fast, and reliable and persons are able to receive their results in just about 15 minutes.
“People can live long and normal lives with HIV with effective and free treatment available to them. Early treatment ensures better health and knowing your HIV status can prevent you from infecting others,” says the health ministry.
In May 2017, the programme was regionally recognized and awarded for its efforts of increasing previous targets by 50 percent. In June of 2017, the programme once again excelled by exceeding the target of testing 1000 persons by 194.5 percent with 1945 persons knowing their HIV status.
For follow up or to request additional information about your sexual health, please contact the National AIDS Programme at 467-1233 or 1234.