JIS News

More than 150 persons in St. Mary received free HIV testing, as the parish joined the rest of the international community in observing World AIDS Day, on December 1.
The testing, which was carried out as part of a general health check up programme, was conducted by the St. Mary Health Department, in Port Maria. The event also provided an opportunity for participants to undergo other health status evaluations, including blood sugar, hypertension and prostate assessments.
In an interview with JIS News, Behavioural Change Co-ordinator at the St. Mary Health Department, Tashana Harris, said the testing exercise was accompanied by counselling sessions relating to condom usage and condom negotiation.
She said over 200 persons participated in that activity, adding that the term condom usage refers to the proper ways of using the condom, while condom negotiation involves dialogue between sexual partners to settle disagreement about the need to use condom during sexual intercourse.
Noting that this session was led by various community peer educators, adherence counsellors and peer link educators in the parish, she said the conversation it facilitated was very fruitful and productive, providing a great deal of information for the participants.
Expressing appreciation for the support given to the day’s events by the residents of St. Mary, Miss Harris said activities in observance of World AIDS Day in St. Mary began from last week with the staging of discussions on HIV/AIDS, in the communities of Bailey’s Vale, Mango Valley, Islington and Jacks River, and the holding of condom cross country programmes promoting the proper use of condoms, in the communities of Annotto Bay, Highgate, Gayle, Oracabessa and Port Maria.
She pointed out that the campaign to control and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in St. Mary will continue to be a major focus of the St. Mary Health Department, and encouraged the residents of the parish to continue to give their full co-operation and support to that effort.