Trained Clinical Nurse, Uvie Johnson, smiles as she preps a student for a rapid HIV test.
“It’s important for college students to know where they stand especially if they’re sleeping with people. If you get tested, and your test comes back negative, you need to ensure whomever you date after that test is also tested and negative,” she added during the institution’s eight annual HIV/AIDS testing day organized by BTVI’s Student Affairs department.
The test required a prick of the finger and results were available within 15 to 20 minutes. On hand to facilitate the free testing were health care workers from the HIV and AIDS Centre of the Ministry of Health, who gave pre and post-test counseling.
Another student, who spoke under anonymity, expressed the significance of college students getting tested particularly as many young people are irresponsible.
“It is important to get tested because you could have it and infect someone else. If you know you have it, you can start treatment and educate yourself to live a quality life. At the college age, students are more sexually active and more likely to contract the disease due to reckless sexual behavior,” said the Office Assistant student.
Meanwhile, Trained Clinical Nurse, Uvie Johnson, explained how testing positive for HIV/AIDS does not have to mean a person’s live is over, but can be managed with treatment. She too noted that many college students are sexually active; therefore the necessity of testing.
“If they are positive, there are treatments available for free. For persons who are not positive, but have a partner who is and they wish to stay with them, we also have something called prep that can prevent transmission of the disease to the negative partner. With the negative partner being on prep, and the positive partner being on the necessary medications, they can remain in a healthy relationship and even start a family,” she said.
Nursing Officer, Beverly Boyd, expressed that the ministry’s goal is to decrease the spreading of HIV/AIDS through education, protection and treatment.
“Our mandate is to have at least 90% of the HIV/AIDS population in The Bahamas diagnosed and treated so they can become virally suppressed and undetectable,” she said.
Students, staff and faculty queued to know their status.
Representative from the Ministry of Health assists a student in preparing for her rapid HIV/AIDS test.