Love Responsibly: Knowing Your HIV Status Valentine’s Day 2016

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Those working in the field of HIV, from policy makers to programmers, and national governments to community-based organisations, operate within the framework of global HIV targets.   United and Strong Inc and other national stakeholders have also embraced the targets of 90-90-90 which are the geared to ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.

The first 90 target represents those living with HIV would know their status, this is certainly achieved by stepping up the availability of HIV testing nationally.  Valentine’s Day 2016 provided the opportunity for United and Strong Inc to continue it’s collaborative relationship with other national partners through two HIV Rapid Testing Outreach sites leading up to Valentine’s Day on 14th February 2016.

The first outreach was conducted on Wednesday 10th February 2016 in partnership with the Gros-Islet Polyclinic, Bureau of Health Education- Ministry of Health.  This outreach saw a collaborative relationship between staff of the various institution including United and Strong Inc.  United and Strong Inc supported the initiative by making available VCT providers and Peer Educators who have all been part of the Peer Education Project funded by the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition.

United and Strong Valentine’s Day testing outreach rest on the belief that nothing says “I love you” like knowing and sharing your status with your significant other or any other special person in your life. Hence if you really wanted to impress your date this Valentine’s Day, protect their health — and yours — by getting tested.  Therefor the continued HIV Rapid Testing outreach in the community of Soufriere on Saturday 13th February 2016.  This activity was initiated by a young man, Luigi Edgar after reaching out to United and Strong and seeing the need to step up the presence of testing in his community and a way of showing love during the Valentine’s Day celebration.

The partnership with the Bureau of Health Education – Soufriere Office ,  Community Health Educator- Ms.Simone Mondesir including the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation along with the Saint Lucia Planned Parenthood Association made this a most successful activity.

While HIV has become one of the most critical issues of our time,United and Strong Inc continues to be a very effective space for reaching women and men with HIV services. This is essential because many people living with HIV are unaware of their status and show no symptoms.  Therefore we will continue to expand our reach through such activities to facilitate the process of Saint Lucia meeting the 90-90-90 targets

Love is not limited to Valentine’s Day. Similarly, this message is not limited to February 14. We can love and live in great health at the same time, if we love smartly.  Get Tested..For You..For Us!!

 

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