Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 02, 2017 (SKNIS): Almost 2,000 persons in St. Kitts and Nevis received free HIV counselling and testing in June as part of activities in St. Kitts and Nevis to celebrate the 10th Regional Testing Day (RTD) that was observed on June 30, 2017.
Recent figures from the National AIDS Secretariat indicate that a total of 1,945 males and females made use of the free service that was conducted at a number on private and public sector agencies during the month, as well as at the public testing at Independence Square on RTD.
National AIDS Coordinator, Gardenia Destang-Richardson, said that she was pleased with the numbers, given that it surpassed the 1,000 persons that officials had hoped to participate this time around. The number was chosen as a representation of 100 individuals for each year of the 10th RTD. It also surpassed last year’s figure of 582 persons, who were tested.
“We wish to thank our partners and encourage private sector partnerships in sustaining our gains, eliminating AIDS, enabling a stigma and discrimination free society and finally assisting our citizens and residents in living healthy and productive lives,” Mrs. Destang-Richardson stated.
A number of local businesses also contributed vouchers and coupons that were used to encourage persons to go out and get tested. These included FLOW, Creole Restaurant, El Fredo’s, Salt Plage, St. Kitts Scenic Railway, Dr. Alvin Edwards, Dr. Trevor Christmas, Rituals, Digicel, Sensationals, Lemongrass, Dr. Bichara Sahely, Necessary Beauty, Soup Café, Dr. Andrew Holness and Caribelle Batik. Also recognized were Marshalls, Dr. Mervyn Laws, Indulge Bakery, KFC, Karibhana, the Polo Company, Dr. Dawan Archibald and Dr. Terrence Drew.
The national AIDS coordinator also thanked the staff of the Ministry of Health, particularly those at the Secretariat, and the many volunteers who contributed to make the event successful.
Regional Testing Day has been organized annually across the Caribbean for the last 10 years by LIVE UP: The Caribbean Media Alliance with support from the Scotiabank and the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP).