The global HIV response is in danger, even as HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Locally, especially since the onset of the COVID pandemic, the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation has noticed an increase in new cases and remind persons to be aware of sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
The WHO adds that over the last few years progress towards HIV goals has stalled, resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are at risk as a result.
Division, disparity, and disregard for human rights are among the failures that allowed HIV to become and remain a global health crisis.
World AIDS Day is observed each year on December 1st. The theme is: “Equalize.” The equalize slogan is a call to action.
Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA), commemorates World AIDS Day as part of its calendar of annual observances, along with a number of stakeholders including the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation. Together both organizations are promoting awareness and have organized several activities.
The community is invited to the World AIDS Day Health Fair on December 1 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM which will be at the AIDS Foundation, Welfare Road #55, Cole Bay, 2nd floor accessible via the parking lot in the back, which is located in the building across the street from Tropicana Casino in Cole Bay.
At the Health Fair, there will be Free HIV testing, along with the following health screenings, glucose, blood pressure and weight provided by CPS.
A Sexual Transmission Infections (STI) Survey is currently open to the community to participate in and can be accessed via the following link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1kaouEKJJu77T9ZQnuPAF13_B0GDTHJ_B72fWKlR8Auc/edit or QR Code.
The internationally observed day provides an opportunity to raise awareness, educate and improve a greater understanding of HIV as a global public health issue.
CPS encourages the community to educate and inform themselves about the latest developments related to AIDS and HIV.
It is also important for the community to be supportive and not discriminate against persons living with HIV AIDS or any other diseases.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Stakeholders in the photo include the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation and CPS who have come together to promote and create awareness about World AIDS Day.