830 AIDS Tests in One Day Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 July 2012 00:00

It was the first time that Belize participated in the initiative, which took place this year through the collaborative efforts of Scotiabank Belize, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Commission. As part of the testing, centers were set up in the four most affected districts; Orange Walk, Belize, Cayo and Stann Creek. Tests were conducted from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. At the end of the exercise, a total of 830 rapid tests were conducted countrywide. In Belize City, 285 persons were tested; in Orange Walk, there were 250 persons tested; 187 were tested in San Ignacio and 108 were tested in Dangriga.  

Belize has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in the region. While studies have shown that the infection rate is reaching a plateau and presenting a downward trend, it is still one of the primary health concerns of the country. In a press release, the National AIDS Commission explains that "HIV testing is an important part of prevention and treatment efforts. Studies show that those who learn they are HIV positive modify their behavior to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Early knowledge of HIV status of those with HIV is important to increase access to medical care and services that can reduce mortality and improve quality of life."