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Pompey Square hosts Regional HIV Testing Day

MEDICAL and administration staff at the Regional HIV Testing Day held in Pompey Square on Friday. Photos: Moise Amisial

MEDICAL and administration staff at the Regional HIV Testing Day held in Pompey Square on Friday. Photos: Moise Amisial

By JADE RUSSELL

jrussell@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMIANS from all walks of life gathered in Pompey Square for Regional HIV Testing Day (RTD) on Friday.

The annual event provided free HIV testing to the public in an attempt to raise awareness of the disease.

Additionally, healthy lifestyle counselling, glucose and cholesterol screenings, blood pressure readings, and preventative tools were also offered.

The National HIV/AIDS centre’s acting manager director Beverly Boyd said: “One of our priorities is counselling and testing. We need persons to know their status, in knowing their status our priority is to stop HIV.”

Ms Boyd stressed that by persons seeking testing and counselling they are able to make wiser decisions on their health.

“We want to know those who are positive and bring them into care. We want to educate those who are negative how to stay negative,” she said.

The stigma surrounding HIV has contributed to the spread of the disease because individuals are afraid to seek treatment. When asked about the stigma, Ms Boyd said: “There is a stigma, it seems not to be going away. Probably because it has something to do with sexuality,” she added.

However, The Bahamas National HIV/AIDS programme is hoping to break that stigma and to end the HIV epidemic. According to Dr Nikkiah Forbes, the director of the National HIV/AIDS Programme in the Bahamas, normalising HIV testing is part of addressing the epidemic.

Some of those taking part told The Tribune why it was important for them to get tested.

One said: “I think everybody here in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas from all ages of 18 and over should take advantage of this free testing. So at least you will know your status, even if you’re in a relationship or had been in a past relationship you should at least know your status for your own well- being.”

Another resident responded: “Honestly speaking it’s available whereas trying to find time or take time off to go to a clinic to get this done. This is here now so I can go on my lunch break real quick and then back to the office.”

And another participant in the event said it was important to get tested so that persons can get their health together and live a long life.

The National HIV/AIDS Programme urges persons to get tested so they can know their status. Bridgette Curtis, a member of the programme, said the COVID-19 pandemic did have an impact on RTD. However, the annual event was able to be held this year and raise awareness for HIV testing. Ms Curtis added that it is important for every person to know their HIV status so they can take the necessary steps forward.

Comments

JokeyJack 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Sorry - we tired of all the "testing". Get rid of the Covid tests, and then we might think about some others. Just sick of it. Please be quiet and go home.

Too bad, too sad. Enough is enough.

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