Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 - 1:24pm

Residents of the Virgin Islands are being urged to consider whether they are positive or negative as two new cases of HIV have been reported for the year.

Chief Nursing Officer with responsibility for family health, Ms. Jascinth Hannibal said the two new cases reported are both young persons. She said four cases were reported last year and her unit will concentrate its efforts on more outreach to young persons.

Ms. Hannibal added, “We want to push abstinence and if they cannot be abstinent we want them to stick to one faithful partner and use a condom every time, consistently and correctly with every sexual experience.”

The Chief Nursing Officer noted that there are many circumstances that increase the vulnerability of young persons to acquiring HIV. She said young persons are sometimes pressured into having sex before they are ready, as a survey completed in 2009 showed that most people’s first sexual experience was not consensual. She said that in both male and female cases it was usually with someone older than they were.   She also noted that a lack of knowledge, incorrect information and the inability to make good choices were also factors.

Ms. Hannibal further stated that having unprotected sex with an unknown person, the use of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs can alter a person’s mind and capacity to think clearly therefore putting themself at increased risk.

Ms. Hannibal further added that Caribbean Regional Testing Day will be held on June 29 and residents will get opportunities to get tested and know their status. Free testing is also offered at the Family Health Unit located on the second floor of the Betitto Frett Building next to Banco Popular. 

Residents are asked to note that free testing will be done at the following dates and time: Friday, June 23 at Pussers in West End between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m.; Thursday, June 29 at Scotia Bank located in the Valley, Virgin Gorda from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Friday, June 30 testing continues at the Fisherman’s Jamboree at Beef Island between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and on Anegada at the Backyard from 8:00 p.m.; and Friday, July 7 at the BVI Health Services Authority’s Job and Career Fair at the Catholic Community Centre from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“Everybody should get tested at least once if they are between the ages of 15 and 65”, Ms. Hannibal said, adding, “Everybody should know their status, so if you have never been tested before in your life, this is your opportunity to get tested for free. Make 2017 the year that you know your status.”

Caribbean Regional Testing Day’s objective is to heighten public awareness on the critical importance of voluntary counseling and testing in preventing the spread of HIV infection and to mobilise the population to access HIV testing. It also serves to provide a unique opportunity to advance universal access to prevention services in the Virgin Islands.