Month: January 2012

More Jamaicans getting tested for HIV, STIs

THE Ministry of Health’s National HIV/STI programme has seen a marked increase in the number of persons getting tested for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) — which causes the AIDS — and other sexually transmitted infections.

“There has been marked improvement where this is concerned. We are seeing a level of maturity in Jamaicans especially in males,” said Jamian Rodgers, field co-ordinator for the National HIV/STI programme. She, however, could not quantify the increase.

Field officers from the health ministry have been travelling around the country in several mobile units to reach more persons.

Rodgers was among the personnel on a unit that rolled into Kitson Town, St Catherine, yesterday.

Meantime, Richard Pryce, outreach officer at the health ministry, said he believes that public education has played a key role in the level of maturity being shown by Jamaicans.

“We are encouraged by the numbers we continue to see and we are hoping that things will continue to improve,” Pryce told the Observer yesterday.

With 1.6 percent of the adult population estimated to be HIV-positive, health officials in Jamaica have in the past reported that the stigma associated with the virus contributed to the widespread reluctance by some persons to get tested or access treatment. This, despite the confidentiality rules at public health facilities.