Health Department To Observe HIV Testing Day

June 26, 2015

The Department of Health is observing HIV Testing Day on Monday 29th June, 2015 as part of its ongoing efforts to educate the community about the importance of knowing their HIV status.

A spokesperson said, “Testing will be available on Monday from 8:30am-3:30pm, including through lunch, at the Communicable Disease Control Clinic of the Hamilton Health Centre.

“Free confidential testing is normally available at the clinic, Monday to Thursday, except during the lunch hour. In addition to free and confidential HIV testing, the Communicable Disease Control Clinic provides other sexual health screenings and free condoms.

“This observance of HIV Testing Day is a way of encouraging the community to get tested as HIV affects all of us.

“There are currently over 300 persons known to be living with HIV in Bermuda. However, it is recognized that there are persons that may not know their HIV+ status and therefore are not receiving the care and treatment required to remain healthy and avoid passing HIV on to others. This is the reason for the Department’s “STOP HIV. Know Your Status. Get Tested” campaign.

“The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta states that HIV Testing Day is a reminder to get the facts, get tested and get involved.

“Protecting yourself and others against HIV starts with knowledge. Knowing the facts about HIV will help you make informed decisions about sex, drug use, and other activities that may put you and your partners at risk for HIV.

STOP HIV

“The Department of Health encourages the public to learn the basics about HIV, how to prevent HIV transmission, and the steps you can take to protect yourself and others. The public is also encouraged to share this knowledge with others and to use social media to increase HIV awareness in Bermuda [#RockRedBDA #HIVAwarenessBDA].

“It is also important to support people living with HIV either through individual efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination and by supporting the efforts of the local charity STAR – Supportive Therapy for AIDS persons and their Relatives [Tel: 441-292-5941/441-335-4265 Email: starlighthouse@northrock.bm Facebook: STAR Lighthouse Bermuda].

“HIV Testing Day reminds people that the only way to know if they are infected with HIV is to get tested.

“The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care, and that people with certain risk factors get tested more often. People with more than one sex partner, sexually active gay and bisexual men, people with sexually transmitted diseases [STDs], and people who inject drugs are likely to be at high risk and should get tested at least once a year.

“To protect your own health, you should also get tested if you have been sexually assaulted. In these instances, HIV testing is available through the Sexual Assault Response Team.

“Bermuda also follows the CDC recommendations regarding HIV testing during pregnancy to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to infants. HIV testing has been done routinely on all pregnant women in Bermuda for many years and there have been no recent cases of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV.

“Knowing your HIV status gives you the power to control your health and your future. You can ask your health care provider to test you for HIV or go to the Communicable Disease Control Clinic at Hamilton Health Centre for free and confidential testing

“HIV testing is only one step. We can all do something to help stop HIV.”

Full HIV Aids in Bermuda 2014 Report follow below [PDF here]:

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