Dr Faith BYisrael, Managing Director of Imani bet Knesset Foundation, is advising Tobagonians to ‘know your status’ on HIV as she noted that most people living with the disease in Tobago, ‘HIV came home and met them in their homes.”
BYisrael stressed the need for testing which she said was available free of charge at the island’s health centres and the Health Promotion Clinic.
“In Trinidad and Tobago and in the Caribbean, the thing that puts us most at risk for contracting HIV is being in a so-called monogamous relationship.
“Most of the people who are living the HIV, even right here in Tobago, HIV came home and met them in their homes. So that is why it is so absolutely important for each and every one of you to know your status,” she said.
BYisrael, who is also a Minority Councillor in the Tobago House of Assembly, was delivering the feature address on Friday at an event commemorate World AIDS Day at the Gulf City Mall in Lowlands hosted by the Foundation and Youth Ambassadors of Trinidad and Tobago. “Get tested because it is the only way to know that you are HIV positive... For many of us in Trinidad and particularly in Tobago, we identify people who are HIV positive who have been living with HIV for many, many years and they did not know,” she said as she note the symptoms of the disease leading onto on AIDS.
“The good thing about living in Trinidad and Tobago is that after you’ve been tested, if you are negative you can work on staying negative but if you are positive… we live in one of the best countries on this earth because the treatment for HIV is free of charge to anybody who is on the island, who is living in Trinidad and Tobago even if you are not a resident here, even if you are not a citizen here, the medication is absolutely 100 per cent free,” she said.
Keigon Denoon, representative for Youth Ambassadors TT, said World AIDS Day, recognised annually on December 1, was an opportunity for people globally, to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS, to support those living with it and to commemorate and those who died from related illnesses.
The event ended with a candlelight vigil.