Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 05, 2014 (SKNIS): For the first time ever, residents will get back their HIV results within a few minutes, due to the new method of testing that will debut on National Testing Day scheduled for December 12, 2014.

National Testing Day, which is coordinated by the National AIDS Secretariat as one of the signature activities in commemoration of World AIDS Day (December 01).  National AIDS Programme Coordinator Gardenia Destang-Richardson revealed that the more efficient Point of Contact (POC) testing will be used.

“This is the first time that we will be giving persons their results within a few minutes – when I say a few minutes, within 30 to 45 minutes,” Mrs. Destang-Richardson revealed.  “In the past we would say same-day-results and we would endeavour to get persons their results by the ending of the work day, so that everybody can go home feeling comfortable.”

Another advantage is that with POC testing, blood does not have to be drawn with a needle and syringe but rather a pin-prick of blood is required.

Corresponding with the local theme of “Getting to Zero Starts with Me,” Mrs. Destang-Richardson informed that all activities encourage individuals to be responsible.

“There are a few activities planned and most of them involve getting the public to respond in taking personal ownership on their actions,” Mrs. Richardson emphasized.  “We are collaborating with the Leos Club this year and we’ll be focusing a lot on young people – where we’ll be going into the schools to talk to young people.  We’re going to be having a Teen Sexuality Workshop, Parent Seminar and oF course the annual National Testing Day, and our continued presence in some of the Carnival and festive activities such as the Inception Party etc.”

The National AIDS Programme Coordinator also emphasized the significance of the day, noting it is acknowledged in remembrance of persons who have died as a result of HIV/AIDS, as well as those who are presently affected by the disease.  She added that it is an opportunity for individuals to reflect on the progress made and acknowledge how positive changes can be made in behavior and attitude in order to get to the point where HIV/AIDS is no longer an issue.

The Teen Sexuality Workshop is scheduled for December 06 while the Parent Seminar takes place just before on December 03, with the intention of empowering parents to discuss what is sometimes considered taboo with their children.

“And I think that when people hear sexuality they often think that you’re teaching or telling the child to go have sex but sexuality is way more than that,”  Mrs. Richardson stressed.  “It’s appreciating your body, appreciating how your body functions and works and how to protect yourself – whether it’s by abstaining or using various things to protect yourself.  So it’s an opportunity to get parents involved, so that they can be the first teachers to their children, or they can enforce the positive messages that their children will be exposed to and even counter the negative ones.”

The topic for the Parents Seminar is “Let’s Talk Sex,” and according to Mrs. Richardson, private sector partner, the Leos Club and the National AIDS Secretariat decided to target parents.  It was determined that these adults have a greater influence on their children than they realize.

Posted by SKN PULSE.

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