Scotiabank hosts regional testing day at branches across the Caribbean

POSTED: 06/19/12 11:46 AM

Belize is the newest location to host testing

St. Maarten – Scotiabank in partnership with the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV and AIDS (CBMP) will start Regional HIV Testing Day 2012 here this weekend. Other countries across the region will follow next week, including Belize which is testing for the first time.
“Scotiabank is pleased to partner with CBMP to help heighten public interest in and awareness of HIV testing. Supporting the growing programme is part our ongoing commitment to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS in communities and aligns with Scotiabank’s global strategy on HIV/AIDS,” Country Manager Scotiabank St. Maarten Elie Bendaly said.
People from 21 countries across the Caribbean are invited to attend the free clinics to test for HIV. In 16 of those countries, testing will be done in select Scotiabank branches. Testing here will be on Saturday, June 23 at Scotiabank’s Philipsburg main branch, where together with the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation, volunteers from the American University of the Caribbean, led by Dr. Gerard van Osch, will conduct voluntary counseling and testing between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“The collaboration with Scotiabank has been phenomenal over the years. Scotiabank should be considered a corporate fore-runner in HIV/AIDS prevention in the Caribbean. Their contributions have made it possible to expand HIV/AIDS prevention activities in our region,” van Osch said.
“Everyone in the community is invited to come to do a free, confidential and rapid HIV test.
Results are available within 20 minutes and it’s a great way to be sure about your HIV status. Knowing one’s status is important to stay healthy and protect [those close to you]. With the modern medications against HIV/AIDS this infection has become a chronic manageable disease where actual symptoms can be prevented with early detection and treatment. HIV continues to affect a growing number of persons in our community and is a life changing infection that can be prevented.”
Counselors will available for English, Spanish and Haitian Creole speaking people.
CBMP Executive Director, Dr. Allyson Leacock also praised regional media for their support of the initiative.
“I congratulate Caribbean media for their committed coverage of this important HIV prevention initiative now in its fifth year,” This unique collaboration, conceived by the CBMP with media mounting a month-long campaign; the exemplary support from the private-sector in Scotiabank offering its locations as some of the testing sites; and the delivery of the technical expertise of voluntary counseling and testing by the public sector through Ministries and Departments of Health, mobilized by PANCAP, is a model of the power of partnership in the response to HIV in our region.”
The 2012 Regional HIV Testing Day campaign officially launched in Kingston, Jamaica on May 25. Approximately 10 000 people from across the Caribbean are expected to be tested during this year’s campaign. The 21 territories participating in Regional Testing Day this year are Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, BVI, Cayman Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and USVI. A list of 2012 testing locations can be found online at www.iliveup.com.

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