JIS News

The St. Elizabeth Health Department has set a target of at least 1,000 persons in the parish to be tested for HIV. This campaign will last until December 6, and coincides with World Aids Day to be observed tomorrow (December 1). The project is being undertaken to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS in the parish, as well as to sensitize persons on how to protect themselves from contracting the disease.
Parish Behaviour Change Co-ordinator of St. Elizabeth, Caple Taylor, informed JIS News that, “so far we have been to ‘taxi parks’ and educational institutions to conduct HIV tests”. “The communities are responding positively as we have conducted just over 400 tests. For the testing, we have had more males than females and we are really excited about that,” he added.
Mr. Taylor said that on December 1, the team would visit the Bethlehem Moravian College in Malvern, “where we’ll be conducting rapid tests”.
“The day’s activities will commence at 10:00 a.m. and continue until 4:00 p.m. and will include voluntary counselling and testing, health talks, as well as small group meetings,” he noted.
On Monday, December 4 the health department will take the campaign to the Junction Vocational Training Centre, while on December 6, the campaign will end at the Santa Cruz bus park.
More than 12 locations have been visited by the health department, including the community of Accompong. “We were greatly welcomed by the Maroons .and the response was good,” Mr. Taylor said. He pointed out that Alumina Partners of Jamaica (ALPART) has donated T-shirts depicting the World AIDS Day theme, which should assist in communicating the message.
Mr. Taylor noted that activities to mark the day will concentrate on risk assessment, HIV testing, promotion of risk reduction methods and referrals to treatment and care services for those who need it.