AIDS Foundation tests 142 at World AIDS Day Testing       

POSTED: 12/2/14 12:50 AM

St. Maarten—142 People got tested on Saturday as part of St. Maarten AIDS Foundation’s free and confidential HIV Testing event to mark World AIDS Day.  World AIDS Day is today December 1st and the AIDS Foundation asks the community to commemorate it by getting informed about the issue by visiting www.sxmaidsfoundation.org, or its Facebook page (Facebook.com/sxmaidsfoundation).

Aided by physicians-in-training at American University of the Caribbean and other volunteers from the community, the event saw a steady stream of people filling the Scotia bank building to take advantage of the free testing.

Radio stations x104 and Island 92 broadcast live from the premises throughout the day, and the AIDS Foundation also welcomed the singing group ARIAS who performed classic and modern pop songs to the delight of those present. During the event, the AIDS Foundation was presented with $582 by Sahil and Aisha Khatnani, a brother-and-sister team who raised the money by making and selling rubber loom bracelets and key chains in the shape of a red ribbon.

“This is the single largest donation made by an individual this calendar year. The Khatnani children’s initiative is mind-blowing and I hope shows other children that they, too, can make a difference, no matter how small, and sometimes like in this case, quite big,” noted Rajesh Chintaman, volunteer Treasurer of the AIDS Foundation.

The winner of the week-long Facebook contest to market World AIDS Day was announced at 1pm, and the prize of two Flyzone Zipline passes donated by Loterie Farm went to Josien van Wijk. Several tickets to the Teen Times’ Talent Showdown event were given away as well during the event.

“Overall it was a successful day, with people coming out at a steady stream to get tested. One-third of those tested was doing so for the very first time, which is very encouraging. They now know that an HIV test is not a big deal and have their baseline status established. Those who get tested tend to take more precautions to stay healthy going forward, especially after an individualized counseling on risk-reduction strategies”, noted Dr Gerard van Osch, AIDS Foundation President.

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