Ministers: Student Health Rumour Is Not True

January 9, 2019

The Ministries of Education and Health said they are “aware of a rumour that is currently circulating regarding a number of students” at one local school purportedly being tested for a sexually transmitted infections, specifically HIV, and noted that the rumour is not true.

This follows after rumours spread, including a widely circulated voice message on WhatsApp, with a woman alleging that the school had allowed their students to be tested for HIV, with the woman making a number of false statements in the message.

The Minister of Education Diallo Rabain said, “This rumour is not true and is being addressed by the school with students, parents and staff.”

The Minister of Health Kim Wilson added, “In Bermuda, HIV is a reportable condition and there have been no official reports to the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of any new infections in persons of high school age in many years. Our internal surveillance also has not shown an increase in cases. Public health alerts are posted here – persons can go there for information.

“HIV education is ongoing and the Ministry of Health has regular services available to all senior public schools, middle schools and P6 students, focusing on behavior change and the transmission and prevention of STI/HIV.

“As part of the standing Community Nursing programme of the Department of Health, school nurses and public health nurses may be called in to supplement what is taught within any health/life skills courses in the curriculum. This has been common practice.

“Public Health campaigns regarding prevention and transmission of HIV also occur regularly throughout the year [HIV Awareness Month, World AIDS Day, Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week.”

“HIV testing can be done by your doctor or at the Communicable Disease Control Clinic at the Hamilton Health Centre. Testing is fully confidential and free of charge. HIV testing is always voluntary, requires consent and is conducted in a private setting.”

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Comments (10)

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  1. NO MORE WAR says:

    I listened to that voice note and immediately I knew it was false when the woman said the school tested all the students. That would first require permission from all parents and I am more than sure most would not have agreed to such testing without good reason. Furthermore some parents would have made noise at such a test being done without their consent.

  2. Wahoo says:

    The power of social media….

  3. Joel says:

    A storm in a tea cup

  4. Thank you for the clarification. This is fantastic and calming news.

  5. Yes Eye says:

    The woman in the voice-note should be ashamed of herself! Her agenda was like many people today…to be the first to pass on the bad news, and if it is filled with lies and innuendos …well that is okay.

    To the woman that sent out that voice-note. Next time you have a thought…keep it to yourself!

    Do you have any clue how parents of Berkeley students (past and present) the alumni and teachers would have felt hearing this?! Any idea about the panic and mental anguish you caused just so you could be popular! As far as I am concerned you should be charged and prosecuted! What you did was worse than picking up the phone and calling in a a bomb threat to the school! At least when that happens there is no real panic. What you did caused panic, anxiety and worry for parents, grandparents and students that were already trying to deal with the loss of a fellow student.

    But don’t worry Karma is a Beach!

    • Ok says:

      Need to set an example and prosecute this moron! Otherwise others will follow suit. Not everyone is experienced enough to check the source before reacting and get caught up in the untruth behind a lot of what is on social media / Internet

      Rule of thumb is to not overreact until you verify through another source. Don’t believe and trust what you read or see on any media. Always verify and then act.

    • Arthur-Atlanta says:

      I also heard the voice memo and immediately thought to myself,..
      1) Why would you need an ambulance and police there for HIV testing?
      2) It takes 15-20 min to do an HIV test on one person so to test a whole school and get back the results and numbers of those affected/not effected would take more than one day.
      3) Medical test results are confidential so how would she (the faker) know unless she was there and would be stupid enough to risk her job giving out that information to the public.
      That is the second time I have heard that person’s voice passing along false information.

  6. X. G says:

    Another classic example of why education needs to be more than just passing tests. I can’t understand why any rational being would have believed a single word of this, or passed it along. (Note, I have not heard the voicenote; I have sensible friends!)
    The “adult” that did this, Shame on you. Our children deserve better.