Free HIV testing this Saturday in St Peters

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — St. Maarten AIDS Foundation will be in St Peters on Saturday from 9:00am to 4:00pm offering free and confidential HIV testing. This community outreach event, which will be held at Rupert Maynard Youth and Community Center, is part of the foundation’s continued efforts to make free HIV testing easily accessible.   

Getting tested regularly and knowing your status is one of the ways of reducing the impact of the virus on the community and staying free of HIV, the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).  Protecting yourself and loved ones from the virus starts with knowing your status.

The HIV test requires only a small prick on the finger. The tests are anonymous and results with only a 15-minute waiting time.

A group of volunteers that include doctors in training from American University of the Caribbean, foundation members and supporters and some youth members will be in the area facilitating the testing day event. Spanish translators will also be on hand throughout the day.

The foundation urges everyone to make an effort to get tested and reminds the public that HIV testing is also available at the AIDS Foundation office in Cole Bay.  St. Maarten AIDS Foundation, with its secretariat in the Sun Building across from Tropicana Casino in Cole Bay, is the only entity offering HIV/STI prevention education outreach and care/treatment support for persons living with HIV/ AIDS on the Dutch side of the island. 

While the foundation acquires the bulk of its funding from community and corporate donations. A major donation generator is the annual Stronger Together/Red Ribbon fundraising campaign carried out in collaboration with Scotiabank. The 2014 campaign fell just short of the annual goal of US $100,000, a reflection of the continuing challenge in fundraising locally and internationally.

To make a donation, e-mail info@sxmaidsfoundation.org or make a direct deposit at Scotiabank account numbers 7223 (US dollars) and 7221 (guilders) in the name of “Stronger Together HIV/AIDS Campaign.”

For HIV counselling and tests, visit the secretariat or call 588-4636 or 553-2626. Also visit the foundation’s website: www.sxmaidsfoundation.org for more information about services.