COLE BAY – St. Maarten AIDS Foundation (SAF) is partnering with Divico Cash and Carry to offer free and confidential HIV testing in Cole Bay at the wholesaler’s location on Union Road in Cole Bay on Saturday, May 28.
Testing is open to the public from 10:00am to 4:00pm. The foundation and Divico’s partnership will also see participation of the Government of St. Maarten’s Health bus, French Side AIDS foundation AIDES, American University of the Caribbean (AUC), the foundation’s youth wing, Coach Tom and some of his team members and SAF volunteers.
SAF invites everyone, especially persons living and working in the Cole Bay area to take advantage of this testing event. “Getting tested regularly and knowing your status is one way of reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS on the community while protecting yourself and loved ones from getting the virus that causes Acquired Immune-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS),” SAF said in a release.
Testing involves only a small finger prick and results are available within 15 minutes. Tests are anonymous and linked to the person by a one-time identifier. Spanish, French and Haitian Creole translators will also be on hand throughout the day.
The foundation is urging everyone to make an effort to get tested, and reminded the public that Free HIV testing is also available at the AIDS Foundation office in Cole Bay. SAF, 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.
While the bulk of the foundation’s funding comes from community and corporate donations, a major fund generator is the annual Stronger Together/Red Ribbon fundraising campaign carried out in collaboration with Scotiabank.
To make a donation, e-mail email@example.com 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 553-2626. Also visit the foundation’s website: www.sxmaidsfoundation.org for more information.
Photo caption: Some members of the SAF testing team during a recent outreach in Dutch Quarter.