From as early as 8:00 a.m. on Friday people lined Pompey Square, Bay Street to be registered for Scotiabank’s annual HIV Testing Day.
Scotiabank has again teamed up with the National HIV/Aids Programme to make the often scary process easy for anyone serious about combatting the deadly epidemic.
Statistics from last year’s global summary of the AIDS epidemic, an estimated 250,000 adults and children are living with HIV in the Caribbean.
About 12,000 people in the region were newly infected with the deadly virus and there were approximately 11,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS.
Managing Director of the HIV/Aids Centre Marva Jervis said knowing your status all boils down to taking control.
“Taking control means that you can go get treatment and once you’ve gotten treatment you can actually stop HIV from progressing to AIDS,” she said
“There are a lot of people here innocently, who do not know their status; we’re giving you a chance to get to know your status and if we need to assist you we will put you in direct, confidential and private care.”
Ms. Jervis gave a walkthrough of the testing process saying results can be found within as little as 20 minutes.
“Step one is registration and at registration it takes five to seven minutes and what we do is get your demographics, the next step is counselling and this would tell you about the test,” Ms. Jervis said.
This section is one that she said would explain to an individual what a positive negate or inconclusive result means.
“We will also ask you to sign a consent form and from there you head to the testing arena where we usually do a finger print on your index finger which takes about 30 seconds and after that all your forms are written up completely,” she added.
Scotiabank’s Senior Manager of Marketing and Public Relations Leah Davis added the bank has supported regional testing day since 2008.
After being tested, each participant received a $5 BTC phone card.
Over 20 countries participated in the 2014 HIV Testing Day.