Test now and be sure

Bhutan Times - - Home - Deki Lha­zom

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.

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