Member of the Board of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and President of the St. Thomas Parish Church’s Health Guild, Cardinal Fenty undergoing counselling, at the Haggatt Hall Branch of the Scotiabank, ??prior to taking an HIV??test in support of Regional??Testing Day, June 27.??

Over 1,500 persons turned out to be tested when the Ministry of Health undertook two days of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for HIV at several locations across the island, in support of Regional Testing Day, June 27.

The majority of the VCT exercise, done in collaboration with Scotiabank and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership (CBMP) on HIV/AIDS, was conducted on Friday, June 26, from 9.00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at various Scotiabank locations. Those sites saw a huge turn-out of 1,185 persons.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health showed that 167 persons were tested at the branch at Broad Street; 165 at Trimart Complex, Haggatt Hall; 151 at the Holetown branch; 139 at Black Rock; and 130 at Scotiabank, Wildey.?? Branches at Rockley and Warrens saw 114 and 105 individuals respectively, while the highest figure recorded was at Independence Square – with 214.??

On that same day, the Ministry’s mobile unit was accessed by six individuals testing for HIV, bringing the total count for June 26 to 1,191.

Another run of tests by the Health Ministry on Saturday, June 27 saw 342 persons participating in the VCT sessions held at Jubilee Gardens; Parliament Buildings, Marhill Street; Emerald City, and via the Ministry’s mobile unit. The figures showed that 148, 78,104 and 12 persons were tested at these venues, respectively.??

Senior Counsellor at the Ministry of Health, Bazil Hunte, noted that some 1005 persons participated in the VCT exercise in 2008. He said: "The response this year was excellent; it was a marked improvement on last year’s turn out and we actually surpassed our goal of 1,500. It certainly shows that more persons are willing to come forward."

In extending thanks on behalf of the Health Ministry, he noted: "All persons who actually came forward to be tested on that day as well as the medical students, providers and counsellors who worked at sites across the island must be commended."

Meanwhile, the report from the CBMP showed that 5,084 persons from 14 Caribbean territories were tested in the region over the two-day period. This represented an increase of 2,775 over the figures for 2008.

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