Free HIV testing offered this week

| 24/06/2019
CNS Local Life

(CNS Local Life): The Health Services Authority (HSA), Cayman AIDS Foundation and Cayman Islands Red Cross are again joining forces to mark HIV Testing Week, which runs from today (24 June) through Saturday, 29 June. The activities being held this week are in support of National Testing Day and Regional HIV Testing Day observed on 27 June. “The purpose of these annual observances is to ensure people get tested for HIV in order to know their status, get linked to the care and treatment services they need should they be diagnosed with the infection,” said Laura Elniski, HIV and STI programme coordinator at the HSA.

Testing will be available across all three Cayman Islands. Anyone seeking testing or counselling may indicate to the registration clerks that they would like to sign up for free HIV testing. The testing procedure involves a quick and simple blood test. No appointment is necessary during the specified times on the HIV schedule and wait times will be short, the HSA said in a press release.

HIV Testing Week provides an opportunity to educate the public about prevention and protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as offer free testing. “There is a need for people in the Cayman Islands to better understand how HIV is and isn’t transmitted and to be reminded of the importance of testing. Testing may lead to treatment and treatment stops transmission,” Elniski said.

According to the global organisation, UNAIDS, research has shown that HIV treatment is so highly effective in reducing transmission that people living with HIV with a resulting undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV sexually. This has prompted UNAIDS to launch its “Undetectable = Untransmittable” campaign.

“This has incredible impact on the lives of people living with HIV and is a powerful message to address HIV-related stigma, discrimination and social exclusion, which threatens to undermine global efforts to address the diagnosis of HIV, and treatment and care of people living with the virus,” Elniski said.

Since AIDS first appeared, considerable progress has been made worldwide in reducing new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths. “Knowing your HIV status is key and this is done through testing,” she added.

The results of HIV tests will be available within three working days or less and only given to the patient in person, at the clinic where they took the test, to protect the confidentiality of the individual and to offer post-test counselling.

HIV Testing Week schedule

Read more about HIV and HIV testing here


Category: Local News, Medical and Health

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