PHILIPSBURG – Residents can access free confidential HIV tests from St. Maarten AIDS Foundation at Scotiabank in Philipsburg onSaturday, June 25, from 9:00am to 3:30pm. The testing day is part of the collaboration of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership (CBMP), the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) and Scotiabank.
The testing day is again themed “RU+ UR-” (are you positive you are negative). This message is built on getting people to actively participate in knowing their status and to encourage their loved ones to do the same. This regional testing day started almost a decade ago and is now carried out in 21 countries, including St. Maarten.
St. Maarten HIV Foundation President Dr. Gerard van Osch encourages everyone to come out and get tested on Saturday. “The entire process takes about 15 minutes. In that short time, you will get peace of mind about your status and information about continuing to stay negative and safe.” The test is a simple prick of the finger for a few droplets of blood. It is painless and quick.
Teaming up with the AIDS Foundation, as with past testing days, is the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) Medical School, the foundation youth wing and volunteers. “We are grateful for the continued support of AUC and its students and all the volunteers. Thanks to their commitment, we are able to administer tests on a large scale,” said Dr van Osch.
Scotiabank remains a strong partner of the AIDS Foundation, not only by providing a central location for testing day, but in raising funds to support HIV/AIDS awareness efforts. The bank and the AIDS Foundation is still promoting its “Stronger Together Red Ribbon Campaign.” This fundraising effort is essential to the work of the Foundation and its ability to keep offering free HIV tests to the public.
Outside of community outreach days, HIV tests is available at the AIDS Foundation Secretariat in the Sun Building across from Tropicana Casino in Cole Bay. The foundation 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.
The foundation acquires the bulk of its funding from community and corporate donations for its testing and awareness activities. A major donation generator is the annual Stronger Together/Red Ribbon fundraising campaign carried out in collaboration with Scotiabank.
To make a donation, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.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 553-2626. Also visit the foundation’s website: www.sxmaidsfoundation.org for more information about services.
Members of the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation’s testing team at a community outreach testing event.