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Hundreds rush for HIV Rapid testing in Chato

Hundreds rush for HIV Rapid testing in Chato


Pandemonium is the only fitting description of the scene outside the Chateaubelair Hospital last Thursday, when hundreds showed up for Rapid HIV Testing.{{more}}

From Rose Hall to Fitzhughes, people of all age groups and walks of life converged at the hospital from as early as 7:00 a.m. waiting for the caravan from the HIV unit to arrive from Kingstown.

The caravan arrived at around 9:00 a.m. with music blasting and the personnel pumped and excited.

However, they were quickly overwhelmed as rushing ensued as soon as they began handing out the numbers. Before testing began persons were counseled about HIV and its implications, and the tests and processes involved were explained. In order to maintain confidentiality, the counselor gave each person a code.

The code is made up of the initials of the person’s first, middle and family name, along with their date of birth and the initial of their gender at the end. (The code for John Allan Doe who was born on April 13, 1979 would be JAD041379M) After counseling, the client is sent to the LAB where blood is drawn and the tests are carried out. In Rapid HIV Testing there are actually two tests done, one is named Determine and the other is called Uni-Gold. The process takes about 15 minutes for the results to be determined; however, if one test reads negative and the other reads positive the whole process would have to be done again. A spokesman told SEARCHLIGHT that so far the tests results have been consistent.

Testing was done until the rapid Testing Unit ran out of kits as they didn’t anticipate such a huge turn out. Some persons whose blood was taken had to wait for their results, because the blood had to be taken to Kingstown for testing.

Many returned to their homes without being tested, however those who took the test were given t-shirts, caps, purses or wrist bands.

Free contraceptives and brochures were also distributed.