World AIDS Day will be observed on Monday, December 1.
To mark the occasion, the HIV/AIDS Programme of the Ministry of Health will stage a Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) campaign, expected to reach over 1000 persons.
It will begin on World AIDS Day and run until Friday, December 5 at a number of testing sites across the island.
A key site for VCT on World AIDS Day is Independence Square in Bridgetown which is expected to have a heavy turn-out for testing from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
VCT will also be conducted at Ellerton in St. George from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on that day.
The following day, Tuesday, December 2, from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. the Ministry’s mobile unit will journey to the Holetown Esplanade and the Haynesville Pasture in St. James to provide testing and counselling.
On Wednesday, December 3, the team will journey to Sunset Crest Holetown, where VCT will start at 9:30 a.m. and run until 4:00 p.m.
The VCT mobile unit will again be on the road plying routes to Oistins, Christ Church and Emerald City in St. Philip on Thursday, December 4 from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
VCT concludes on Friday, December 5 at Sheraton Centre from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Members of the public are invited to “Come out, come on board the health bus and get tested” during the week of Voluntary Counselling and Testing.
VCT is an HIV prevention intervention that gives clients an opportunity to confidentially learn about their HIV status. It was first developed and introduced as a “client-centred” HIV Prevention Counselling approach at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta 1994.
A key principle of VCT is confidentiality – information about the client and his/her test result must be kept confidential. Additionally, regardless of the setting, quality assurance mechanisms are put in place to ensure VCT clients receive high quality prevention counselling.