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Observing World AIDS Day

The Public Health Department, the Cayman AIDS Foundation and the Cayman Islands Red Cross have partnered to organize five days of free HIV/AIDS testing as part of its World AIDS Day which is observed on 1 December each year.

Taking place from1-5 December 2014, officials promise testing will be speedy and confidential. No appointment is necessary and the waiting time should be no more than ten minutes. Persons who wish to be tested and/or receive counselling need only indicate to the registration clerks that they would like to register for free HIV screening.

The results will be available in three working days. These will be given only to the patient, who must return to clinic where the test was taken to receive the results. Those who have taken the test outside of clinics will be advised on how to get the results at the time of testing.

Furthermore, from Tuesday 6 January 2015, free HIV testing will be available year-round at the Cayman Islands Red Cross on Thomas Russell Way, every Tuesday between the hours of 9.00am and 10.00 am.

Expressing his support for these initiatives, Health Minister Hon. Osbourne Bodden notes: “Our region has made the focus on AIDS a priority. These local initiatives will help to reduce new HIV infections, late diagnosis and AIDS-related deaths. The “90-90-90” goal by UN AIDS promulgated by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in our region is an ambitious step towards hopefully ending the AIDS epidemic one day.”

In this goal, by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status. By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained

antiretroviral therapy. By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Each year World AIDS Day draws together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. It also seeks to encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries around the world.

Globally 35 million people live with HIV and more than 39 million have died of AIDS since 1981.

The theme of World AIDS Days between 2011 and 2015 is: "Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths". This year’s campaign focuses on "Zero AIDS related deaths" and signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; and a call for urgent action by governments.

A sub theme this year is Focus, Partner, Achieve; An AIDS Free Generation, which speaks to improving existing outcomes through evaluation and education.

For more information on HIV testing and other activities please contact HIV/AIDS Coordinator Laura Whitfield at 244-2631 or Health Promotion Officer Therese Prehay at 244-2632.

The Caribbean region has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world, behind only Sub-Saharan Africa.