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Know Your Status

Hon Mark Scotland, MLA

The Cayman Islands will celebrate HIV Testing Day on Monday, 28 June.

The campaign, launched by the Health Services Authority (HSA) and the Cayman AIDS Foundation, will focus on the importance of being tested and knowing one's HIV status.

Minister for Health the Hon. Mark Scotland urged people to take advantage of the free testing: "While the Cayman Islands has a low incidence rate, we cannot discount the fact that the Caribbean as a whole has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS sufferers in the world.

"Furthermore early diagnosis and treatment can prolong and improve the lives of persons living with HIV and AIDS and therefore we all have to take it as a personal responsibility to get tested regularly."

Health Services Authority's HIV/AIDS Coordinator Valerie Noble Myrie echoed the importance of getting tested: "If you know your HIV status, you can take the necessary steps to increase your chances of remaining healthy."

The free HIV testing will be available on 28 June from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on at all district health centres on Grand Cayman, Faith Hospital on Cayman Brac and the Little Cayman Public Health Clinic.

The testing procedure involves a quick and simple blood test. No appointment is necessary and the waiting time for testing is usually no more than ten minutes. Persons seeking testing or counseling need to indicate to the registration clerks that they would like to register for free HIV screening.

The results will be available in three working days. The results will be given to the patient only, who must return to clinic where the test was taken to get the results.

For more information about HIV Testing Day, contact AIDS Programme Coordinator Valerie Noble Myrie at 244-2631, or valerie.noblemyrie@hsa.ky or Health Promotion Officer Therese Prehay at 244-2632 or therese.prehay@hsa.ky.

Know More about HIV and HIV Testing

Protect yourself against HIV:

  • Not having sex is the safest
  • Have a sexual relationship with only one uninfected person, who is having sex with only you.
  • Use a condom for high risk behaviour.
  • Don't share any kind of needles.

What is HIV Testing?

The HIV test looks for antibodies in a person's blood. When HIV (which is a virus) enters a person's body, special chemicals are produced. These are called antibodies. Antibodies are the body's response to an infection.

What does HIV testing involve?

A small sample of blood will be taken from your arm, sent to a laboratory and tested for antibodies. The test is always strictly confidential

What is a positive HIV test?

HIV positive means that antibodies to HIV were detected. It means that the person is infected with HIV. (Except in infants of HIV- positive mothers, who may retain her antibodies for some months).

What is a negative HIV Test?

HIV negative means that antibodies to HIV were not detected. In almost all cases this means the person is not infected with HIV. Most people develop the antibodies within three months of infection. In rare cases it can take up to six months. It is good for the test to be repeated three months later and even at six months, just to be extra sure.

The time between infection and the development of antibodies is called the window period. In the window period people infected with HIV have no antibodies in their blood that can be detected by an HIV test. The test is only accurate if there are no other exposures between the time of possible exposure to HIV and testing.

Source: Public Health Department.