Minister Of Health Launches Regional Testing Day

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Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, receiving counselling prior to being tested, from Carol-Ann Knight-Rice. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

This island’s Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, is leading by example as he encourages Barbadians to know their HIV status.??

He was tested today at the launch of Regional Testing Day at Scotiabank Rockley, as part of an initiative by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, Scotiabank Barbados and Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS, to encourage persons to get tested.

Speaking to persons at the launch, Mr. Inniss said the only way that this country could achieve Millennium Development Goal 6, which speaks about halting and reversing the spread of HIV, was to intensify its prevention and control efforts.

"HIV testing plays a decisive role in this endeavour and must be strengthened so more people are tested for HIV and subsequently, access treatment and care services as required," he added.

Mr. Inniss also noted that his Ministry had introduced a number of other initiatives and interventions to assist in encouraging persons to get tested.?? These include Provider Initiated Testing and Counselling (PITC), which focuses on the routine offer of an HIV test, as well as the introduction of HIV Rapid Testing.

"Within my Ministry, a dedicated HIV testing team that comprises highly qualified counselors along with volunteers conduct HIV testing and supportive counseling for outreach events such as this…[The] team comprises a Domiciliary Care Coordinator [as well as], nine counsellors/social workers who routinely provide HIV testing and counseling on a daily basis.?? These officers are an integral part of a bigger team which has been mobilised to provide HIV testing and counseling services for Regional Testing Day 2012, our largest community outreach event," Mr. Inniss explained.

HIV testing continues tomorrow, Saturday, June 30, at Emerald City in St. Phillip and Jubilee Gardens, Bridgetown.??

kim.ramsay-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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