Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 04, 2018 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Health, for World AIDS Day 2018, gathered community leaders including parliamentarians, permanent secretaries, heads of departments, representatives of faith-based organizations and business executives to a Leader Testing Press Conference aimed at having them tested to be examples for others in their respective communities.

The Press Conference and Leader Testing that took place at the Solid Waste Management Conference Room on December 04 featured Minister of Health, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton encouraging those in attendance and the general public to know their status and get tested.

“This programme for HIV Testing and HIV work in St. Kitts and Nevis is one of the bright lights of the Ministry of Health. Get Tested! It is an important step towards halting the spread of HIV and ending AIDS. HIV testing provides people with a unique opportunity to discover their HIV status and enable those diagnosed with HIV to rapidly initiate lifesaving treatment,” he said.

Minister Hamilton said that while there is much work being done to spread awareness on getting tested, there is still a lot to be done. He mentioned that as there is still a high rate of persons who are not aware of their HIV status and also disclosed that data collected by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) show that more women get tested than men. He therefore encouraged men to get tested.

“PAHO is calling on people to get tested and so is the Ministry of Health in St. Kitts and Nevis. We men need to be champions for getting tested so that we can mirror the same examples as the women,” he stated.

The Minister reflected on the 2017 achievement of the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and syphilis and said that the Ministry continues to “build out infrastructure regarding all diseases.”

“Knowing your status is an important step in living a longer, sustainable life, and so I encourage all of us to get tested. As we embark on universal health care in this Federation, it is important that we know our health profile,” said Minister Hamilton.

World AIDS Day (December 01) marked the 30thanniversary of its observance in the global community. It was commemorated under the theme “Know Your Status.”