BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis joins the International Community once again, to observe World AIDS Day 2018 on Dec. 1, under the theme; “Know Your Status: Get Tested.”

World AIDS Day is held each year on Dec. 1. It provides a worldwide opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from the disease. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held in 1988.

The Ministry of Health, in commemoration of World AIDS Day will have activities to increase awareness on HIV testing, the benefits of testing, as well as to increase the number of persons getting tested in 2018.

The week of activities to observe World AIDS Day will take place Dec. 1 to 7. Activities will begin Dec. 1 with the Minister of Health’s World AIDS Day address 1; Dec. 4, Leaders Forum; Dec. 5 and 6, Work Place and Key Population Testing; and Dec. 7, General Testing Day. Faith-based Organisations are encouraged to take the opportunity on Dec. 1 and 2 to speak with their congregations on HIV topics and to support prevention, testing and persons living with HIV.

The general public is advised that the persons administering the HIV rapid tests are trained and certified by the Ministry of Health. All information received is kept private and confidential. The HIV test is fast and reliable. Results are returned in about 15 minutes.

National AIDS Programme Coordinator in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Gardenia Destang-Richardson said the Ministry is working to support the UNAIDS 90-90-90 initiative. She encourages everyone to get involved by promoting and applying safer sex practices to reduce the number of HIV infections. The ultimate goal is to end AIDS by 2030.

The UNAIDS 90-90-90 initiative states that by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their status; 90 percent of people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and 90 percent of everyone receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.