Director of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Jacqueline Wiltshire-Gay.

TESTING CONCERN

National HIV/AIDS Commission aiming to reach more people

Even though the National HIV/AIDS Commission hosts special testing days every year, the Director of the Commission, Jacqueline Wiltshire-Gay, is worried at the number of persons who wait too late to be tested. As a result, she believes that they need to spread their net a bit wider in order to reach more people.

She made the comment during an interview with the media following the World AIDS Day Service that was held at the St. Michael’s Cathedral yesterday afternoon.

“We test all these people and then we see some that wait too late to be tested. So it means then that we have to spread the net a little wider to get in the ears of persons, which is why we deal with the Civil Society partners to reach the population that doesn’t come out because of the stigma and discrimination,” she said.

Treat All policy implemented

Regardless, she was proud to note that Barbados was working successfully towards their AIDS-free society by 2030 goal.

“The Ministry of Health has implemented a Treat All policy, which means that every person that is diagnosed as positive will be put on to treatment and in this way, we hope that it will reduce transmissions. So that there will come a time that infections will be minimal because no one will go onto that stage of AIDS, the end point, where death comes,” she said.

Confirming that mother-to-child transmissions of the virus have virtually been eradicated, Wiltshire-Gay proudly announced that there have also been some behavioural changes in the society. She revealed that they have noticed an increase in the use of condoms, a delay in sexual debuts of young people and a reduction in the number of partners among men.

Additionally, she believed that even they needed to continue working with men to get them to come out and be tested regularly.

“We have to continue to encourage them and show them why it is important for them to know their status. We’re depending on the media too to help us with this because our men are still our biggest challenge,” she said.

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