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Jun 28, 2019

NAC’s National Testing Day Targets Men

The National AIDS Commission held its annual national testing day today across the country. Every year the organization hosts two national testing events, with the next testing day in December for World AIDS Day. Today’s event aimed to get more men out to check their HIV status. We stopped by the Battlefield Park this morning to find out more about the HIV testing.  Reporter Andrea Polanco tells us more.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

When is the last time you took an HIV test? The NAC says it is always the right time to get tested. It is a simple and mostly painless process. But many don’t know their HIV status because they don’t take the test, particularly men. So, today for its second national testing day, NAC hopes that more men will take the HIV test.

 

Anellie Paredes

Anellie Paredes, Communications Officer, National Aids Commission Secretariat

“Statistics has shown that males don’t come out voluntarily so we have been trying to get their attention and we are doing a raffle today. So far we have about twenty two people coming out. It has been a slow day but we are hoping to see more people coming out. They are open and willing to get their testing done. I am a bit surprised to see more males than females coming out. So, that is something good and it is a trend we want to continue.”

 

You can take an HIV test at most health care facilities around the country. NAC also carries out a number of outreach programmes year round where you can also do free testing. In previous surveys conducted, more women were getting tested but twice as many men were HIV positive. The 2018 HIV report has not been released, but preliminary data suggests that there may be a spike in the number of positive cases, with a majority being men. Communications Officer Anellie Paredes says there is no need to be afraid of the test.

 

Anellie Paredes

“We definitely want to mention that these results are confidential. It is only between the tester and the person coming out to get tested.  We make sure that the staff that we have out here is people who have been in this field for a long time and who know how to deal with cases like these.”

 

Taking the test is quick and easy. You give your personal information and a quick prick on the finger collects a blood sample that is used on the strip. When you get a double line on your test, Laverne Marin of the testing center explains what happens next.

 

Laverne Marin

Laverne Marin, Social Worker, Voluntary Counseling & Testing Center

“We would have to explain to the person that the test here is reactive and we would need to do additional test. That person would need to go in to get the confirmation and do a badgery of physical tests. After confirmation, we do an assessment of your CD4 viral load to see where the virus is and how your body is affected. And we continuously monitoring the progressive infection and based on that we have now moved from detection to that medication or treatment for suppression.”

 

And if you are HIV positive, the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center is there to provide support.

 

Laverne Marin

“A number of persons who are there are usually alarmed but we are there to provide that safety net, that cushion, so that you can get the support that you need; that includes making referrals within the inter-systems that we have. Human Development is involved in some of our cases. It is not just a medical issue, but a social, financial issue when we are looking at HIV.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


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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