Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Honourable Wendy Phipps, said that communities “are powerful and positive agents for change in the lives of persons affected by AIDS” as St. Kitts and Nevis joined the global community in the observance of World AIDS Day Dec. 1.

Minister Phipps added the communities’ response will make a major difference in ensuring that all persons affected by AIDS remain at the centre of care, and that the Ministry of Health must do more to improve St. Kitts and Nevis’ HIV/AIDS statistics.

She highlighted a number of initiatives her department has embarked upon, including increasing the number of laboratory technicians to handle testing loads; the recruitment of a Case Manager and addition Health Educators assigned to the National HIV/AIDS Programme; the roll-out of the electronic case-based surveillance system; and the improved engagement and support of CSOs to assist with public education, reaching vulnerable groups, and increasing advocacy for those who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

The National AIDS Secretariat, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, planned a number of activities to coincide with World AIDS Day to assist with bringing awareness to HIV/AIDS., including testing day in Independence Square on Dec. 6, a condom campaign public service announcement video throughout the month of December, and a weekly outreach regarding education and testing throughout the month of December at the 11 health centres on St. Kitts.