NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The global HIV/AIDS epidemic has claimed millions of lives around the world. Here in The Bahamas, the numbers are equally distressing, with recent statistics revealing that one in fifty people currently live with the disease.
In the face of such troubling data, health-care professionals and advocacy groups alike have heightened efforts to raise awareness about the disease and encourage more Bahamians to know their HIV status.
Bahamas Waste, the island’s first and only provider of medical and hazardous waste disposal services, has partnered with The Bahamas Ministry of Health to encourage Bahamians to get tested and know their HIV status. On Friday, June 28, healthcare professionals will set up FREE testing in Rawson Square as well as offer private counseling for hundreds of Bahamians.
Event organizers hope to attract as many as 800 persons to this annual initiative. Dubbed ‘The Bahamas National HIV Testing Day’ the event is part of a wider regional project targeting the Caribbean and Latin America and works to prevent and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. “Knowing your status is the first step in stopping the spread of this terrible disease” explained Mrs. Paula Bowleg of the Bahamas HIV/AIDS Center. “We want to encourage everyone who can to come out and take advantage of this confidential and free testing.”
Bahamas Waste will oversee all medical disposal as well as sanitation at the event grounds, providing garbage bins; portable toilets and hand-washing stations for all clinical workers and participants.“We’ve supported this program since 2011,” said Bahamas Waste Operations Manager Ethelyn Davis . “It is part of our core philosophy to help support our communities on all fronts. We are proud to support the efforts of our Government and the amazing volunteers within the Ministry of Health to help reverse the impact of HIV/AIDS in The Bahamas and around the world.”
Bahamas Waste is not only dedicated to the annual testing but has been a long-standing supporter of HIV health care. For more than 12 years Bahamas Waste has partnered with the All Saints Camp which was founded back in 1989 in response to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since then, the home has continued to provide room, board, and treatment for up to 60 persons who may otherwise not be able to receive the care.
“Every year we work to provide clothing, food and toiletry items which they need to make the lives of the residents there more comfortable,” Davis said, “We look forward to even more opportunities to assist in stopping the spread of this epidemic.