Secretariat reports that HIV/AIDS numbers have not increased to point of concern, but testing has not returned to previous levels
Oswald Hannays, the Senior Counselor and Educator at the AIDS Secretariat, says the number of persons contracting HIV/AIDS in Antigua and Barbuda has not been increasing to the point at which there is concern.
So far, he says, the numbers for 2022 have not outstripped what were seen in the past two years.
Accordingly, he says that education about the illness and how to protect oneself is vital and has to remain continuous.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretariat saw a drop in the number of people getting tested.
But Hannays notes that there has been some movement back to the normal levels with regard to the programme activities being offered to the public.
He adds, however, that the Secretariat has not returned to the number of persons coming in for testing over the years, and pre-pandemic, but it is slowly improving.
The reason for this change, he says, is that, pre-COVID, persons were not required to book an appointment for testing. All they had to do was walk in and request a test at any time and they were able to access the service.
But once the pandemic struck, Hannays says, a number of safety and health measures were put in place, including the setting up of appointments.
Meanwhile, the Senior Counselor says the AIDS Secretariat continues to offer counseling services for newly diagnosed patients and those who are living with the disease.