Foundation notes high prevalence of unprotected sex on record test dayPOSTED: 03/28/12 11:18 AM
GREAT BAY —The St. Maarten Aids Foundation is concerned about the high prevalence of persons engaging in unprotected and highly risky sexual activities. Over 50 percent of the persons tested at Saturday’s Lions Club Health and Wellness Fair were advised to be re-tested in the next three to six months based on various factors.
A record 266 people (166 women and 100 men) were tested for HIV. None of the tests were reactive. This means that all the tests came back negative. This was the largest number of persons the foundation has tested in one day.
However based on risk level and possible exposure to HIV some people were advised to be re-tested in the coming months.
Based on the statistics gathered a large percentage of men and women are coping with perceived or real infidelity and are not sure how to protect themselves against contracting sexually transmitted infections. This situation automatically places a person in a high risk situation.
President of the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation Dr. Gerard van Osch is very pleased that more and more people are coming out to be tested. He believes it shows that the community gradually understands the importance of getting tested and knowing one’s HIV status. The foundation president was particularly impressed with the youth turnout.
“Getting our message to the youth is one of our major drive and seeing their turnout support and enthusiasm to get tested shows that little by little we are getting the message of ‘Know your status’ across. Knowing your status” is the best way to stay healthy and reduce the impact of HIV on the St. Maarten community,” van Osch said.
The foundation also considers it positive that they were able to reach a large group of people who were tested for the first time. They also observed that people who were tested before are now more confident about getting tested and monitoring and maintaining their negative status.
“The foundation thanks the Lions Club for their effort in planning the Health and Wellness Fair, the students of the American University of the Caribbean and the volunteers, who made the testing day a great success,” van Osch’s release concludes.