Test now and be sure
hemed ‘Getting to Zero’ the World Aids Day saw around 388 people getting their Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) tested on 1st December in Thimphu.
It was made much easier for volunteers as blood testing and counselling centres were made easily available for anyone wanting to test their blood and HIV status.
The service of providing counsels and testing the HIV status will be available to volunteers till today at clock tower square. This is a service provided mainly in keeping with the global theme of ‘getting to zero’, which is zero new infection, zero death and zero discrimination.
The minister for agriculture and forests Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, who was the chief guest at the ceremony in the ceremony said , ‘’ I urge everyone to take advantage of the free HIV prevention , testing and counselling and treatment services available in our country for a safer life ahead’’.
He said HIV prevention, treatment and care services have improved with easy access to HIV testing and continuum of care.
Lhak-sam , a civil society organization set up by a group of people living with HIV positives celebrated its fifth anniversary, announced its target to end HIV in Bhutan by 2025, five years ahead of the global target.
Lhak-sam’s executive director Wangda Dorji insisted people to get their blood tested. He said it is important that people get their blood tested for it would not only decide their lives but also lives of their spouses and unborn children.
He shared that his wife would have never met a same fate as him, if he had known his HIV status before their marriage.
‘’ If you do not test now, you might infect another five in a year, that five will infect another 25 and it will keep multiplying and then Bhutan will not be able to bridge the detection gap of about 59 per cent,’’ he said.
Since July this year, Bhutan has recorded 28 new HIV positive cases out of which 11 are women and 17 are men and although the total number of cases reported is 460 since 1993,
‘’ We need to provide adolescent girls and young women with access to education and real options to protect themselves from HIV, I look forward to the 2016 High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on AIDS as a critical chance for the world to commit to Fast –Track the end of AIDS,’’ said Christina Carlos ,UNDP Resident Representative.
The event was supported by the World Health Programme, United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Population Fund.
Various cultural programmes are also being performed by volunteers and food stalls are also set up in the clock tower square by Lhak-sam a network of people living with HIV in order to c5eate awareness about HIV and to rise fund to help the people living with HIV.