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Jun 29, 2018

National Testing Day held across the country of Belize

National H.I.V. Testing Day was observed today in Belize. The National AIDS Commission conducted testing around the country aiming to test about twelve hundred persons. The day was first observed back in 1995 to encourage people to get tested for H.I.V., to know their status, and get linked to care and treatment. We stopped in at the Battlefield Park in Belize City, where persons were testing to find out their status. Arthur Usher of N.A.C. tells us more.

 

Arthur Usher, Communications & Program Officer, National AIDS Commission

Arthur Usher

“The aim is to reach our national targets. We have set, based on UNAIDS targets, 90-90-90 which is ninety percent of people who are HIV positive know their status, ninety percent of those are on their medication and ninety percent of who are on medication have a viral load suppression. So, the first phase is testing and we are doing a national testing through-out the country from nine to three today. Final figures aren’t in but so far it seems to be close to seven-eight hundred so far. We are hoping for twelve hundred so that we are on par to reach our targets.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, we know that one of the things we’ve heard repeatedly over the years is that  we have fewer men getting tested; are you satisfied with the number of men you are seeing coming out today or is there a certain number that you want to reach today?”

 

Arthur Usher

“Well, final figures are not in but what I have seen, I like. A couple years ago you wouldn’t see many men so early in the day. There are peaks and low periods, but so far we are doing pretty good and calling the districts and getting the other data. So, we are doing fairly well in terms of the men coming out. We do have a major disparity within the country that it is an average of two women per men who come in and that is very bad. So, we are trying to bridge that gap, so hopefully the data will say that more men came out today.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, this testing that they are doing, do they know their status immediately or do they go and find that out later on?”

 

Arthur Usher

“Right. So, it is a fifteen minute process, basically. You come in and there is form, there is pre-counseling, there is the test and there is post counseling and so within fifteen minutes you should know your status.”

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