As countries observe December 1 as World AIDS Day, Health Minister Moses Jn Baptiste has disclosed that Saint Lucia recorded 8 AIDS-related deaths between January and October 31, 2022.
And as of September 30, 2022, 917 persons were living with HIV on the Island.
Jn Baptiste revealed that of that number, 298 were in care actively collecting HIV medication, 56% male and 44% female.
In a message to mark World AIDS Day, the Vieux Fort North MP observed that HIV medication, also known as an anti-retroviral treatment, is freely available to all people with HIV from all pharmacies that distribute HIV medication.
“Any person living with HIV can get their doctor’s visits, monitoring tests, and other necessary medications from within the Public System without any cost to them,” the Health Minister noted.
He explained that people could access public services within the Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinics by calling to make an appointment or doing an emergency walk-in.
“There is help. Please access that help and let medical professionals help you to have a better quality of life if you have become infected,” Jn Baptiste advised.
“A finger-prick, a Rapid HIV test, and 15 minutes is all it takes to find out whether you may or may not have HIV,” he stated, adding that it was a free service.
” In addition to this service being available at the Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinics, you may access Rapid HIV testing services in all eight health regions in Saint Lucia. Medication to prevent the transmission of HIV called PrEP, also known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is also available, free of charge to the recipient, Jn Baptiste said.
And he asserted that Saint Lucia had come a very long way since diagnosing its first known case of HIV in 1985.
“We have moved from no treatment for HIV to being able to treat all persons living with HIV in Saint Lucia,” the Minister declared.