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Sep 28, 2018

National AIDS Commission Launches User Friendly App to Encourage HIV Testing

The National AIDS Commission is introducing an innovative way to get more people tested. They have developed an app which they are making available for free and can be downloaded on mobile devices after which persons do not need internet to be able to navigate to testing sites around the country. This new feature is called HIV Services App. News Five’s Duane Moody walks us through the process.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Statistics show that in Belize persons between the ages of twenty and forty-nine are most at-risk to contracting the human immunodeficiency virus. So the National AIDS Commission has been looking at innovative way of getting more persons tested. Today the organization launched its HIV Services App, available on android and IOS platforms. It allows users to identify testing sites across the country and shows how to navigate to the respective testing site.


Enrique Romero

Enrique Romero, Executive Director, National AIDS Commission

“Global external funding is decreasing for HIV and AIDS and so as a country as a commission, we are expected to be able to mobilize resources efficiently and do the same work with less monies available and we have to be innovative. So this again is an initiative from the National AIDS Commission that shows our innovation of providing reliable and up to date information to persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and the general population.”


The free app is readily available for download to all mobile devices and takes in consideration several features that make it user friendly for youths as well as members of key populations, including those at risk. Designer Joe Roches says that once the app is downloaded, its user does not need internet to navigate to testing sites. The National AIDS Commission and its partners will also be able to communicate more effectively with users.


Joe Roches

Joe Roches, Cofounder, LXJ Code Belize

“It took us about a month to develop the app. It is very easy. As you open the app, it’s straightforward. Pick a location, from Corozal to Toledo, pick any district and it automatically shows you the different services and the different testing areas found in that district and you have easy access to it. Geo location which is the main one in it at the moment. The other is push notification which allows the NAC users, the commissioners, to send notifications to everyone in the country who has the app. So if they have a testing site going on in Corozal, as long as they send a notification, everybody in the country gets it that Corozal has a testing area going on.”


Outside of the Millennium Development Goals that speak to attaining zero new infections by the year 2030, Belize, and many other countries in the region, have adopted and subscribe to the UN Aids 90-90-90 Goals. By the year 2020, ninety percent of persons living with HIV/AIDS would have gotten tested and know their status. The second pillar of the cascade speaks to ninety percent of those knowing their status, on treatment and the third pillar looks at ninety percent of those on treatment, being virally suppressed.


Enrique Romero

“We are hopeful that with this tool, users will be able to navigate the healthcare services in our country, get tested, get access to treatment and have the proper medications and eventually have a viral low suppression. So we expect that this will contribute to our overall 90-90-90 Goals for Belize.”


This is the second app that the National AIDS Commission has launched; back in 2016, ‘Infection’ was used to monitor the national response to HIV and tuberculosis. Coupled with its year round testing day activities and partnering with bigger companies, Executive Director Enrique Romero says that there have been significant accomplishments since the implementation.


Enrique Romero

“If you look at data in the past, for every testing day that we had or for testing that was done countrywide, you would have more females than males getting tested. This year, was the first time that we had a one to one ratio; as a matter of fact, I think we had slightly more men than women tested for national testing day. And again National Testing Day was the first time that the Commission and the country celebrated utilizing local resources.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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