Cayman Islands healthcare officials are offering free HIV tests this week to mark HIV Testing Week, and in support of National Testing Day and Regional HIV Testing Day which are observed on Thursday, 27 June.
Organisations involved are the Health Services Authority, Cayman AIDS Foundation and Cayman Islands Red Cross.
“The purpose of these annual observances is to ensure people get tested for HIV in order to know their status, get linked to the care and treatment services they need should they be diagnosed with the infection,” said the HSA’s HIV and STI Programme Coordinator Laura Elniski.
Testing centres are available across all three islands. Persons who are seeking testing or counselling may indicate to the registration clerks that they would like to register for free HIV testing, according to the HSA news release. The procedure involves a quick blood test. No appointment is necessary during the specified times on the HIV schedule and wait times will be short.
“There is a need for people in the Cayman Islands to better understand how HIV is and isn’t transmitted, and to be reminded of the importance of testing. Testing may lead to treatment and treatment stops transmission,” Elniski said.
According to global organisation UNAIDS, research shows that HIV treatment is so highly effective in reducing the transmission of HIV that people living with HIV with an undetectable viral load due to treatment cannot transmit HIV sexually. This has prompted UNAIDS to launch its ‘Undetectable = Untransmittable’ campaign, according to the HSA statement.
“This has incredible impact on the lives of people living with HIV and is a powerful message to address HIV-related stigma, discrimination and social exclusion, which threatens to undermine global efforts to address the diagnosis of HIV, and treatment and care of people living with the virus,” Elniski said.
HIV test results will be available within three working days or less and will be given to the patient in person only, at the clinic where they took the test. This is to protect the confidentiality of the individual and to offer post-test counselling, according to the statement.
If you are unable to attend the scheduled walk-in clinic for free HIV testing, you can make an appointment for confidential testing at:
- Public Health Clinic, 244‑2648
- George Town General Practice Clinic, Cayman Islands Hospital, 244‑2800/244‑2507
- Faith Hospital (Cayman Brac), 948‑2243
- HSA District Health Centres
- Cayman Islands Red Cross, Cayman Corporate Centre
- A private doctor.
For more information about HIV, call HIV and STI Programme Coordinator Laura Elniski at 244‑2507 or consult your doctor.