by Donella Hosten
The session was held just outside of Andall’s Supermarket on Melville Street in St George’s, from about 10 am to 4 pm.
Jeannine Sylvester Gill, Executive Director of the GPPA, stated that her association used this initiative as part of their Men’s Health Series which will run until 19 November 2017 – International Men’s Day.
Additionally, GPPA will be reaching out to men in different communities throughout the island.
Sylvester Gill said that Friday’s activity targeted mainly men, including fathers, encouraging them to know their status. “Our hope is that we will target at least 100 men because we see the importance of being tested.”
Even though persons are aware and familiar with the sexually transmitted diseases out there, they are not coming to get tested as they should. Getting tested will remind those who are not infected to practice safe sex. If a person’s status is positive, he/she will be able to get counselling and treatment as necessary from the relevant personnel. The GPPA works closely with the Ministry of Health and the National Infectious Disease Control Unit, which is the prime source of treatment.
Sylvester Gill affirmed that everything is done in strict confidence, “one of the key things that we pride ourselves on and we are known for, is high confidentiality,” as all tests are coded. This, she said, goes for GrenCHAP as well. She assured that in the very rare occurrence that confidentiality is broken, there are penalties in place.
Part of the pre-counselling session for persons getting tested includes the explanation of the entire process to the individuals being tested. GPPA tested 40 men, all of whom received a complimentary package of assorted condoms, lubricants and educational materials. During the free testing on Friday, 5 persons got the opportunity to have rapid testing done, and received their test results immediately, instead of having to wait the usual 2 weeks.
Regional Testing Day is 30 June 2017, and the public is encouraged to get tested at various locations across the island on that day.