St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): It's regional HIV Aids Testing Day in the federation with activities slated for both islands earmarked to start from 9 am and run until 6 pm in the afternoon. Health officials promise a confidential test in just 10 -12 minutes.
Vera Edwards works with the Health Ministry and was on the scene at Independence Square Friday morning (June 30).
“Why should you know whether you are healthy or unhealthy? That is the question you should ask yourself, in order to know whether you are on the right side or left side of your health you need to be tested. Whether it’s for hypertension, any of the Non-Communicable diseases (NCD) but today focusing on HIV, the quicker you find out what your status, is for example if you get tested and you test positive, the sooner you go into treatment the better you are for sustaining a long healthy life. Stay on treatment as directed by your doctor, the viral load will get suppressed and you can live a long, long healthy life.”
She told WINN FM that people were responding to several initiatives undertaken by the health sector.
“There was a fear of getting tested, there was a fear of knowing your HIV status but the Ministry along with its other partners, have had several educational programme initiatives and the country is now more prepared, more empowered and now ready to be tested. Those who know what it means to tested are now coming out. Others had a fear of getting the venous puncture where you take the blood from the vein, we introduced the rapid test, the quickie, this is the one we have in the Square today where in 10-12 minutes you get your HIV status results. When persons saw that it only takes three drops of blood, persons were lining up, everybody was ready to know because now that we have somehow managed to not really pacify but show persons that it doesn’t take much to know where you are, just a finger prick, one single finger prick. And we have professionals who will counsel you before any questions that you have you ask the question and we will answer to the best of our knowledge. We have other persons who have been trained in HIV who we can refer you to if you have further questions.”