Know Your Status

MyVueNews Staff-writer

Hon Wendy C. Phipps Minister of State with Responsibility for Health

Basseterre, St. Kitts, Monday, 3rd December, 2018, (MyVueNews.com) – Although 75% of the persons living with HIV are aware of their status, there are still far too many persons living with HIV who are unaware of their illness and are therefore not receiving treatment, care or prevention services.

This is what health officials and those throughout the world are pointing out to the public as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAIDS observed World AIDS Day 2018, on Saturday, 1st December.

They remind that in 2017 alone, some 9.4 million people did not know they were living with HIV.

In keeping with all prior World AIDS Day observances since its inception in 1988, the 2018 activities are meant to achieve several objectives, such as the following, said a statement from the Minister of State for Health in St. Kitts & Nevis, Wendy Phipps.

These objectives, said Phipps are to remember those persons who have lost their lives to HIV; to acknowledge the progress made in response to the global epidemic; and to renew the United Nations’ commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic – now with a targeted date of the year 2030.

Presently, some 36.9 million persons in the world are living with HIV.

The WHO estimates that only 21.7 million of them are receiving treatment. That is just about 59% of them are linked to care and treatment.

When one adds to this the stark reality that for the year 2017 alone there were 1.8 million newly infected persons, one realises the global emergency situation that we continue to live with when it comes to HIV and AIDS, said Minister Phipps.

The WHO has reported that of these 1.8 million persons who became infected in 2017, 47% of them are in high risk groups, meaning that they fall into the categories.

Such categories include Intravenous drug users; Transgender individuals- Men having Sex with Men (MSM); Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) and their clients; and Persons who are in Prison.

The Minister suggested that “These categories of individuals must ensure that they engage in safer sex practices, such as abstinence, condom use, taking pre and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP & PEP), and avoiding the sharing of needles and syringes when taking drugs.”

She added that it must also be stressed that there is no cure for HIV.

However, the lives of persons who are HIV positive are greatly extended by the consistent use of antiretroviral therapy (ART), stated Phipps.

(Featured is File photo.)