By Linda Straker
Scotiabank management has decided to open its Grenville location, to accommodate persons in St Andrew who are willing to know their HIV status, when the bank hosts the HIV Regional Testing Day on Friday, 26 June 2015.
Scotiabank, through its Bright Future Programme, will be hosting the annual HIV Regional Testing Day exercise at the Bank’s branches, from 9 am in the St George’s branch.
Persons can visit anyone of the testing sites during the day where trained personnel from the National Infectious Disease Control Unit (NIDCU), will conduct confidential screenings and provide counselling on taking precautions to stop the spread of HIV.
Ian Marryshow, Counsellor at the NIDCU, said that the opening of the branch office in Grenville, will provide easy access for persons in the parish and in close proximity who wants to know their status. “On that day there will be no need to visit any of the St George’s branch but they can visit the Grenville branch,” he said.
This is the seventh year that Scotiabank is participating in this regional initiative under the support of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CBMP), in collaboration with the Pan Caribbean Partnership on HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) and the Health Ministry.
Scotiabank branches across the Caribbean will again lead the charge in providing private and confidential locations to facilitate voluntary HIV counselling and testing. Scotiabank recently kicked off a vibrant social media promotion of the initiative through Facebook and Twitter.
The campaign theme is “We all have a status… what’s yours?”, while the Twitter campaign hashtags are #ScotiabankHIVRTD #WhatsYourStatus. The social media campaigns are geared towards creating awareness of Regional Testing Day; stimulating discussion and building engagement; and encouraging the public to get tested.
HIV Counselling and Testing is an important entry point into comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment programmes and services. Counselling and Testing programmes provide an opportunity for more persons to know their HIV status; for the negative client to receive risk reduction counselling and support to stay negative; and for the HIV-infected client to be referred early into treatment and care programmes and further counselled and supported.