Island Gems Charity donates test kits to AIDS Foundation

PHILIPSBURG–Island Gems Charity Foundation recently donated 750 Insti HIV test kits to St. Maarten AIDS Foundation to help with the free HIV testing community outreach programme.

The test kits, which allow for the almost instant detection of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) were presented to AIDS Foundation Director Rajesh Chintaman when Island Gems visited the AIDS Foundation Secretariat in Cole Bay. They were briefed about the HIV testing programme and other initiatives.

Chintaman said the donation of the HIV test kits allows for the continuation of free and rapid HIV testing to the community via the monthly community outreach events and for walk-ins who visit the Secretariat, across from Tropicana Casino.

The Foundation usually tests about 1,000 persons per year. He said the testing numbers are expected to increase as people become more and more aware of the importance of testing, the possibility of free testing and getting back your results within a few minutes.

   HIV Insti Test kits, works with just a few drops of blood. It detects antibodies associated with HIV. “A few drops of blood and you can tell if you have a life changing illness. It is definitely a smart check to make when you take into consideration that although HIV is not curable, if HIV is left untreated infected persons can develop Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which can cause death,” said Chintaman.

“This is a donation that impacts and benefits the entire community,” he said “It is our hope that every adult and sexually active individual get tested regularly at least once a year.”

Island Gems were given a tour of the Secretariat, a condom demonstration and a talk about the impact of the youth programmes Girl Power and Real talk, both of which were supported by the all-women group in the past.

Island Gems Vice President Anne Karine Fleming said the island’s oldest charity foundation is always looking for ways to make the island a better place and healthy people are definitely a way of making a good impact. She urged people to get tested: “It is better to know your HIV status as early as possible so as to stay healthy and keep others around you safe and healthy.”

She commended the AIDS Foundation for its work, especially young people.

Funds for such donations and other Island Gems-supported projects are raised at the annual Island Gems Charity Foundation’s costume gala. The next gala is in April 2017. The funding criteria is that projects, such as the AIDS Foundation’s testing programme, must have a long-term impact and must be carried out by established foundations/associations. Projects are reviewed by Island Gems and approved based on set criteria and impact. Materials and/or services are then paid for directly by the Foundation.

Source: The Daily Herald