During the month of June, the Ministry of Health and Seniors is observing HIV Awareness Month.
“In 2016, six persons in Bermuda were diagnosed with HIV and all reported sexual contact as their risk. Since 2004, fewer than 10 new HIV infections have been reported each year and ten or fewer persons have been diagnosed with AIDS annually. It is estimated that there are 304 persons living with HIV in Bermuda,” the Ministry said.
“The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS [UNAIDS] has set an ambitious target to help end the global AIDS epidemic. By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression. Viral suppression, or having low levels of virus in the body, reduces the risk of transmission to others.
“Given the preventable nature of HIV and advances in HIV care, the Ministry believes that a generation free of HIV is possible and encourages all people to get tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and the World Health Organization [WHO] have recommended that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Persons likely to be at increased risk of HIV should get tested more often, at least annually, depending on their level of risk.
“27 June is HIV Testing Day. Knowing one’s HIV status, and early diagnosis, is important for maintaining health and reducing the spread of the virus. Free and confidential testing available at the Communicable Disease Control Clinic at the Hamilton Health Centre and testing is also available through private physicians.”
Minister of Health and Seniors Jeanne Atherden says, “HIV Awareness Month reminds us to think about HIV/AIDS. Testing is available, treatment is available, and treatment works. Public Health Nurses within the Communicable Disease Control Clinic deliver health education and provide care and counseling to persons living with HIV.
“The charity Supportive Therapy for AIDS persons and their Relatives [STAR] continues to provide education, counseling, housing and support for Bermudian families that have been affected by HIV/AIDS as needed.”
The full HIV/AIDS Report 2016 is below [PDF here]
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