Videos: World AIDS Day Ceremony At City Hall

December 1, 2012

Since 1982 more than 700 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Bermuda and today it is estimated that there are over 300 persons living with HIV/AIDS on the island, Health Minister Zane DeSilva said at the World AIDS Day Ceremony at City Hall yesterday [Nov 30].

Minister DeSilva said: “Thank you all for being here today as we recognize World AIDS Day 2012. Launched on December 1st 1988, ‘World AIDS Day’ aims to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS in order to combat prejudice and lack of knowledge about the disease.

“World AIDS Day is also an important reminder to people that HIV has not gone away. According to U.N. AIDS estimates, there are now 34 million people living with HIV.

Opening prayer + remarks by Minister Zane DeSilva:

Minister DeSilva continued: “AIDS was first seen in Bermuda in 1982, making this the 30th year of HIV/AIDS in Bermuda. Since that time, more than 700 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Bermuda. Today, it is estimated that there are over 300 persons living with HIV/AIDS on the island.

“The good news is that the annual incidence of HIV has been decreasing steadily since 2008 (where there were 22 new reported cases) compared to 2012 (where there have been six new cases reported to-date). The age of these new cases ranged from persons in their mid-twenties to persons over sixty. And all new cases were sexually transmitted.

“This is why it is so important for all sexually active individuals to discuss their sexual health with their partners…and why the Department of Health encourages residents to “know your status” by getting tested. Early treatment of infected individuals can greatly reduce the risk of HIV transmission from an infected partner to a non-infected partner.

St Davids Primary School students perform:

“And it is so easy and quick to get tested. HIV testing takes place at the Victoria Street Clinic from Monday to Thursday from 8:30am to 11:30am and then again in the afternoon from 1:45pm to 3:30pm on a drop-in basis. Testing is free and confidential.

“Unfortunately the recent 2011 Adult Health Survey showed a decrease in persons getting tested for HIV, and an increase in persons with multiple sex partners, as well as an increase in persons reporting high risk behaviours.

“Furthermore, survey data analyzed in the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit indicates that children as young as 12 were engaging in sexual intercourse.

Skit by TN Tatem students:

Minister DeSilva continued: “However, one of Bermuda’s HIV success stories is that there has not been a case of mother to child transmission [MTCT] in over a decade due to efficient screening and effective treatment.

“AIDS-related deaths are also declining due to advances in treatment, and access to treatment and care. AIDS is no longer a death sentence, but a chronic, yet manageable, disease. World AIDS Day is about increasing awareness to improve our response to HIV and AIDS.

“The red ribbon, which I am wearing today, is an international symbol of AIDS awareness that is worn by people all year round and particularly on World AIDS Day to demonstrate care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and to remind others of the need for their support and commitment.

Nurse of the Year Susan Pedro:

“The World Health Organisation declared that, “between 2011 and 2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of ‘Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”

“For the first time in 30 years it is realistic to talk about achieving an HIV-free generation. In order to meet the challenge of ‘Getting to Zero’ we must work together to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care,” concluded the Minister.


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Comments (5)

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  1. TNT says:

    Congratulations TNT!! For coming first in the 30 minute commercial

  2. Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

    jus a lil information that wasnt mentioned at the ceremony…