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Dr. Sands Supports the Fight against HIV/AIDS

HIV Testing (2)

HIV Testing (2)Despite the fact that the rate of HIV/AIDS has decreased in The Bahamas, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the fight against the disease must intensify.

These sentiments came during the recent Regional HIV/AIDS Testing Day in Rawson Square on Friday.

The minister said the disease has taken a toll, particularly here in The Bahamas.

“We now have about 8,500 people living with HIV. We happen to have one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, and certainly in the Caribbean. There is an ongoing initiative to make sure that everyone understands their status, that persons who have HIV are started on therapy,” Dr. Sands said.

“We want to get to a point by 2020 where the control of the disease is so good, that their viral levels are under control.”

Leading by example, Dr. Sands encouraged Bahamians to get tested.

The minister, after speaking to reporters during the regional testing on Friday, decided himself to be tested.

“The first thing we have to get people to understand is that they should have no shame associated with your HIV status. I want every single Bahamian to believe that it is ok to be tested. You should know your status,” Dr. Sands said.

“If you are going to have sex with somebody you should know your status. I say that to every man, woman and child.

“We have these stigmas that we attach to different persons that we need to get rid of.”

HIV/AIDS Research Director Lynette Deveaux spoke of the significance of testing for the disease.

“We know that HIV is a virus that lives in the body for many years without persons knowing. We want to make testing a routine thing. We encourage people to come and get tested. It’s a private atmosphere,” she said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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