The Ministry of Health is concerned that many people with HIV are being diagnosed at the late stage of the disease when they have already developed AIDS.

Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand, speaking at a ceremony today to mark Regional Testing Day, stressed the importance of people of all ages getting tested, since early diagnosis and follow-up treatment improved health, extended life and prevented the spread.

She noted that over the past 11 years, HIV in Barbados had transitioned from an acute and almost certain cause of death to a chronic manageable disease.

???This does not mean that we can become complacent and forget that this disease is still waging a war against the very fabric of our societies. Therefore, to reduce the number of people who are becoming infected with HIV, the national programme must continue to place emphasis on HIV prevention, which is the bedrock on which our national policy rests,??? she said.

The Chief Medical Officer also pointed out that there were still a significant number of people living with HIV in Barbados who were unaware of their status. ???Therefore, it is vital that we reach out and make every effort to test persons in the community. That is why today is such an important day,??? Dr. Ferdinand stressed.

For Regional TestIng Day 2014, the Ministry of Health partnered with the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership, Scotiabank and Pan-Caribbean Partnership Against HIV (PANCAP) to provide HIV testing and counselling services at a number of sites across the island.

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