Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 02, 2016 (SKNIS): In commemoration of World Aids Day, observed on Thursday, December 01, 2016, the National AIDS Secretariat and, by extension, the Ministries of Health on St. Kitts and Nevis in their endeavour to promote safe sexual practices, hosted a week of activities to educate the public on HIV/AIDS.
Activities included an abstinence drive in schools, red day – where citizens were encouraged to wear red as a show of solidarity in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, and a HIV Rapid Testing session. Today, December 02, a condom drive is scheduled to take place in the Independence Square, as well as a second rapid testing for persons who were unable to utilize the previous one.
The Honourable Wendy Phipps, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, said that it is important for persons to know their status and get educated on HIV/AIDS.
“In light of the foregoing realities regarding our national and regional HIV incidence, it stands to reason that as a country we must do everything possible to spread the word about the prevention of HIV, and advocate for all and sundry to know their HIV status by getting tested,” said Minister Phipps. “Messaging and advocacy regarding safe sexual practices must be aggressively sustained – to save lives and prevent new infections.”
She encouraged the general public to participate in as much HIV awareness programmes and activities as possible, while at the same time paying recognition to health care workers in the Federation.
“The Ministries of Health on both islands take this opportunity to salute all healthcare workers who continuously educate the public about HIV and AIDS, the dangers of unsafe sexual practices, the need to get tested for HIV, and the importance of accessing life-saving treatment,” she said. “Finally, the Federal Government also wishes to remind us all that HIV is everyone’s business: if HIV affects one of us, it affects all of us. Let us continue in the fight against HIV and AIDS and put our “Hands Up for #HIVprevention.”
Minister Phipps noted that this year’s activities focuses on achieving a three-fold objective. These include: remembering those who have lost their lives to HIV, acknowledging the process made in response to the global epidemic, and renewing the United Nations’ commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic with a targeted date of the year 2030.
World AIDS Day is held on December 01 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.