AIDS Foundation reaches record number of free HIV tests in 2016

~ Free HIV testing starts today at Scotiabank ~

PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten AIDS Foundation tested 1,338 persons in 2016, reaching a record number of free HIV tests offered in one year and marking an almost even split: 668 men and 670 women tested.

Aiming at surpassing that number in 2017 the foundation is hosting its first free public HIV testing event today at Scotiabank in Philipsburg from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

  The fact that there was an almost even split of men and women opting to voluntarily get tested shows that the Foundation is making an impact with both sexes. Persons realise knowing their HIV status is the best way to keep a healthy status and the best way to keep partners safe. 

  Keeping yourself and your partner safe and healthy is the theme of first free and confidential testing for 2017 and it is not a coincidence that it falls just before Valentine’s Day. It is the foundation’s hope that couples will turn out today to get tested and show each other their love in a tangible way.

  HIV is a preventable disease, so knowing you and your partner do not have it is the first step to keeping an HIV negative status. When persons know they do not have HIV, they tend to take better care to ensure they do not get it in the future. If you find you do have it, then you can start working on ensuring you take control of the virus and keep yourself and partner healthy.

  Testing involves only a small finger-prick and results are available within 15 minutes. Tests are anonymous and linked to the person only by a one-time identifier.

  St. Maarten AIDS Foundation, with its secretariat in the Sun Building across from Tropicana Casino in Cole Bay is the only entity offering HIV/STI prevention education outreach and care/treatment support for persons living with HIV/AIDS on the Dutch side of the island.

  To make a donation, e-mail or make a direct deposit at Scotiabank account numbers 7223 (US dollars) and 7221 (guilders) in the name of “Stronger Together HIV/AIDS Campaign.” For HIV counselling and tests, visit the secretariat or call 553-2626. 

Source: The Daily Herald