St. Maarten Aids Foundation continues to evolve with new board

POSTED: 11/6/12 12:22 PM

St. Maarten – In on-going efforts to become more effective in the response to HIV/Aids, St. Maarten Aids Foundation has appointed a new board of directors. The five member board, which includes one newcomer, attorney-at-law Brenda Brooks, is headed by long-time foundation President Dr. Gerard van Osch with former Head of Prevention Unit Rajesh Chintaman as treasurer, Ria Uiterloo as secretary and Government’s HIV/Aids Strategic Plan Programme Manager Suzette Moses-Burton.

‘It is great to see the foundation continue to combine experience with new and creative ideas.’ Van Osch said. He continues; ‘Many people think that HIV is not really an issue anymore, given the effective treatments and the fact that most of us have never consciously met a person living with the virus.’

More than 700 people are on treatment, a combined figure for both sides of the island; around 50 per cent of the infected persons don’t know their HIV status and are unknowingly infecting others. Taking those two figures into consideration, it can be estimated that approximately 1,500 people in total are infected with the virus locally.

Brooks’ involvement and interest in the fight against Aids was spurred on by her encounters with clients living with the virus. She especially welcomed the free HIV testing in the various district “as a major factor” for the health and well-being of St. Maarten. She also believes that people who are infected have the right to be defended and supported.

For more information about HIV/Aids, confidential counselling, free testing or to get involved, contact the Aids Secretariat on Welfare Road, across from Tropicana Casino on 553-2626/588-4636 or Like “St. Maarten Aids Foundation” on Facebook.com.

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