Screen_Shot_2013-12-06_at_8.22.29_PMThe Northern Regional Hospital in close collaboration with HECOPAB in the Ministry of Health are today commemorating World Aids day that was observed internationally on December 1st. The goal was to spread awareness and sensitize the public on information on HIV Infection and provide free testing to the general public. Medical Chief at the Northern Regional Hospital, Doctor Jairo Osorio shed some light on the day’s health fair.


Doctor Jairo Osorio– Medical Chief, NRH


“Knowing your status HIV status is a lifesaving situation where if you know you are HIV positive then you know basically have the information what to do whether you require treatment or how to prevent it.”


Maria Nolveo – Reporter


“What has been the response here, have they been taking it, are they taking advantage of the free testing?”

 

Doctor Jairo Osorio– Medical Chief, NRH


“Well, we have had a quite a crowd here this morning since we come here at 8:30 we started and we have had quite a number of people coming in, we are offering HIV testing as well as we are doing the rapid glucose test and offering blood pressure checks so people are interested and they are coming in, they are getting information on HIV and AIDS and as well they finding our whether they are positive or negative in regards to HIV infections.”

 

Maria Nolveo – Reporter

 

“HIV prevalence in Belize, what would say your opinion towards it is in terms of getting into the millennium development goals 2015getting to zero?”

 

Doctor Jairo Osorio– Medical Chief, NRH


“Well, Belize has been known as a country with the a high prevalence with HIV infections, over five to ten years have had the highest in Central America and we are third in the Caribbean Countries, we have previously had a prevalence of 2.4% and now we are down to 2.1 but still we are coming down but still we have a high prevalence in relation to other countries and what that means is basically that Belize has a small population however the number of cases that we are getting on an annual basis on new cases is quite significant, just for the year 2013 so far until the ending of November have had 204 new cases already confirmed in the country of Belize and the district that are mostly affected is Belize District obviously there is a high population in the district of Belize so they are getting in the highest number in the entire country followed by Cayo and then Stann Creek.”


Osorio says that whilst Belize still ranks high in terms of prevalence in the region, the HIV infection rate has declined from 2.4 to 2.1 when compared to other years. The age group mostly affected, Osorio says, is between 20-29 and 40-49. With that in mind, the aim is to continue with education and awareness so as to meet the 2015 Millennium Goal of ‘Getting to Zero”.


Doctor Jairo Osorio– Medical Chief, NRH


“HIV is no longer death sentence that is what is the stigma that we had or the mentality that we had before.  HIV infection is now a chronic illness same as we consider tuberculosis, same as we consider diabetes, hypertension is consider a chronic illness why because it affect some body for quite a while, we all know that there in no cure for HIV but there is treatment in a manner to control the infection, to delay or to stop the progression of HIV to AIDS so there is treatment so somebody with HIV positive what we do basically we would teach them about the infection, we teach them how to live, how to prevent the transmission of HIV or how to prevent how to infect somebody else and we will teach whether they will to have treatment or not, not everybody who has HIV requires treatment, only those who has a form of immune deficiency  or the immune system is already weak then we would provide them with medication.”


Apart from free HIV Rapid Testing, Flu Shots, Blood Pressure checks, weight checks and pertinent health information were disbursed to the public.

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