Local HIV figures low but public urged to get tested

| 03/12/2014

(CNS): As the global community marked another World Aids Day at the start of this month the Cayman Islands is still retaining a low prevalence rate of the disease. However, officials are still urging people to take advantage of free testing this week to ensure that people know their status and can continue to prevent the spread of the virus and avoid developing AIDS. Since the first documented diagnosis in Cayman 1985 to date, just 123 people have tested positive for HIV. With 43 of those people dying from AIDS and 18 patients having left Cayman 62 people are living with HIV locally.

Sexual transmission still accounts for 90 of cases here more than half of which are via heterosexual intercourse.  There have been just four recorded cases of mother to child transmissions and the last case was in 2004.

The Public Health Department, the Cayman AIDS Foundation and the Cayman Islands Red Cross have partnered to organize free HIV/AIDS testing this week. Officials promised the testing will “be speedy and confidential.”

No appointment is necessary and the waiting time should be no more than ten minutes. People 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 mustreturn to the 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.

In future from Tuesday 6 January next year free HIV testing will be available year-round at the Cayman Islands Red Cross on Thomas Russell Way, every Tuesday between 9 and 10am.

Osbourne Bodden, the health minister said that the Caribbean region which has the highest transmission rate outside sub-Saharan Africa said local initiatives will help to reduce new HIV infections, late diagnosis and AIDS-related deaths.  As he pointed to the UN’s goa for the region to be clear of the disease in the not too distance future and for everyone to know their status.

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 marks a push towards greater access to treatment for all and action by governments.

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.

See break down of Cayman statistics on HIV and AIDS below

 

Category: Health

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What exactly does the Cayman AIDS Foundation do?

  2. Whodatis says:

    Know your status fellas.

    I took advantage of the opportunity this week and not only clarified my HIV status, but also learned some interesting facts surrounding HIV transmission, "PEP" (Post exposure prophylaxis) courses, and even the role circumcision can play in all of this.

    E.g. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA; Circumcision reduces a man's risk of HIV infection by up to 60% and of other STIs by up to 45%!!

    The only thing to fear is not knowing. Please go and get tested.

    • Anonymous says:

      Being a heterosexual, or having a particular genital skin presentation does not inoculate people (male or female) from transmission risks of HIV if people are exposing themselves to dirty needles.  In addition to HIV, needles for vaccines, blood samples, drug use, tattoos, acupuncture, cotton swabs, dab clothes, and hot packs can also spread Hepatitis B, C, and serious bacterial infection.  

      As a matter of common sense and professional duty: customers, patients, and caregivers should always make sure everyone involved sees the brand new sealed needles in the packaging, and not accept pre-prepared vaccine needles or tattoo equipment, regardless of how honest or trustworthy the provider may appear.  

       

    • Anonymous says:

      I'll keep my foreskin and engage in safe sex, thank you. Barbaric, if you ask me.

    • Anonymous says:

      If our lord God had wanted us circumcised we would be been born without a foreskin. So it is human hubris. Abstenance reduces infection 100%

    • Anonymous says:

      When you got cut did you get a two for one deal and get the one on your forehead done too?