“RU + UR -?”
“Are you positive you are negative?”
The question from the Caribbean Broadcasting Media Partnership (CBMP) on HIV/AIDS Friday, as Barbados joined the rest of the Caribbean in observing Regional Testing Day (RTD).
“We still want to know . . . . Get tested and see,” said CBMP executive director Dr Allyson Leacock as she declared the partnership was aiming to have 100,000 people tested by 2017.
Presently some 70,000 people across the region know their status and Leacock is confident that by scaling up efforts to test and treat, the UNAIDS targets “are achievable and will no doubt lead to ending AIDS by 2030”.
On the cusp of its tenth anniversary, Leacock announced that RTD 2015 was a resounding success with 16,655 getting tested, a 64 per cent increase over 2014. Trinidad and Tobago led the way with 2,364 people tested.
She revealed that last year 110 people had tested positive for the virus, with Haiti recording the highest: 38; Trinidad and Tobago: 19; French Guiana: 19; Jamaica: 12; The Bahamas: eight; Barbados: four; Antigua: three; St Lucia: two; Belize: two; St Kitts/Nevis: one; Dominica: one; and Grenada: one.
“Yet despite these successes national and regional responses continue to be challenged by structural barriers, particularly stigma and discrimination that impede key affected population, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender persons, sex workers and drug users’ access to prevention services including HIV testing.
“We still have work to do,” Leacock said.
Today’s event saw a number of persons getting free HIV/AIDS test on site in the car park of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, as well as a number of other locations across the island.
The Barbados Family Planning Association has been the newest testing centre in the Regional Testing Day 2016.