Barbadians are being urged to come out and get tested this Friday, June 25.
??The call, which has come from Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Anton Best, is being made in support of National Testing Day, a joint effort of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership (CBMP) on HIV/AIDS and Scotia Bank.??
He said: "HIV testing is very important. It is a key component of the national HIV prevention effort. Every person that comes forward for an HIV test has an opportunity to
determine what his/her vulnerabilities are and to reduce the risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.
Pointing out other benefits to be gained from testing, Dr. Best added:, "It is very important to know one’s status… so if you are negative you adopt behaviours and safe sexual practices to stay that way and if you are positive, you are counselled and can access free high quality services that the Government of Barbados is currently offering.
"It is also about self-awareness for the individual and about trying to keep those who are negative… negative, to reduce the epidemic. Everyone who is sexually active is vulnerable to HIV!"
Dr. Best, who is also an HIV Specialist at the Ladymeade Reference Unit, acknowledged that the Ministry of Health fully supports the National Testing Day initiative.?? He declared: "We regard this event as a significant one for the Ministry of Health’s HIV/AIDS Programme. It increases the awareness of all HIV services in Barbados and the importance of HIV testing."
??On Friday, June 25, the testing sites will comprise Scotia Bank locations at Broad Street, Haggatt Hall, Hastings, Warrens, Holetown and Black Rock, with the seventh and eighth sites at the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, Harbour Road and Independence Square.
There will be HIV testing services on the following days, Saturday, June 26 at Emerald City in St. Philip and at Heroes Square, Bridgetown.
HIV testing and counselling services, under the leadership of Senior Counsellor in the Ministry of Health, Bazil Hunte, will begin at these locations from 9:00 a.m. and run until 5:00 p.m.
National Testing Day is an initiative that was started in the United States in 2006. During National Testing Day 2009, over 1500 persons in Barbados were tested for HIV. firstname.lastname@example.org