It was red and white at the Noel Lloyd Positive Actions Movement Park on Monday 1 December as the National AIDS Foundation celebrated World AIDS Day with their “Know Your Status” campaign.
In an interview with The Island Sun newspaper President of the BVI HIV/AIDS Foundation, Cid Nava announced that there have been at least 12 new cases this year that the Foundation knows of. He noted that the Foundation is aware that persons go overseas to test and treat their HIV/AIDS and he mentioned that discussions are being entered into with the USVI agencies.
Mr. Nava said: “We are working hard at it and they are extremely cooperative; hopefully by next year hopefully January, we will be able to have a meeting where we can share that kind of information.”
He said that the Foundation has not had the opportunity to meet with the USVI team, but mentioned that the agencies in the neighbouring Territory have been extremely helpful and has always been cooperative.
“The AIDS Foundation over there has been really, really helpful to us and we actually have a few people who access treatment in the USVI and go there on a monthly basis to collect their medication, or get whatever tests they need. This is something that we definitely have to work for in the future. I am sure we will have more interaction throughout the year,” he added.
In explaining the 2014 campaign, the Foundation President explained that knowing one’s status is step one in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “This is why we created this campaign for the BVI appropriately named “Know Your Status”. Step two is Prevention, and making sure that if you are negative, that you stay that way and that if you are positive, that you are careful not to transmit the disease to others. Mothers need to know their status when they are pregnant in order to avoid having a child being born positive. With the advances in medicine today, all of this is possible.”
Mr. Nava said that the aim is to create awareness about this disease that continues to grow in the Territory. “Too many people still do not know that they are infected and they continue to bear the burden of discrimination and stigma. HIV is something that parents need to talk to their children about and being tested should be a yearly routine for everyone who is exposed…The goal is to build a society here in the BVI where every person has access to life-extending care, regardless of their economical or background, nationality, or who they are or whom they love. The world is fighting to have an AIDS free generation and we have to be a part of this fight,” he added.