NAPS launches couples testing for Valentine’s as spike in STIs recorded

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The National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) intends to roll out its annual couples HIV testing drive for Valentine’s Day this year but with an added feature.

While Guyana has been able to reduce the number of new HIV infections, NAPS says its records show a spike in other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with syphilis in the lead.

As a consequence, this year’s couples testing will also see persons being screened for STIs such as syphilis and Hepatitis B. The ramped-up testing activities will commence on Friday, February 12, 2021, and will run until Sunday, February 14, 2021.

Teams from NAPS will be at the Stabroek Market on Friday while persons can get access to the service on Saturday at the City Mall, Camp and Regent Streets; the Mon Repos Market, East Coast Demerara and the Giftland Mall.

On Sunday, the team will be at the Parika Market, East Bank Essequibo and the Kitty Seawalls in Georgetown. Persons can also access the service at the standard testing sites across the country.

Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Coordinator, Deborah Success-Hall explained that the activity is mainly to allow couples to be tested as a demonstration of their love and commitments to each other. She reminded that it was an initiative of Dr Shanti Singh, former Programme Manager of NAPS.

Success-Hall said it came into play because of the limited number of men utilising the testing services.

Meanwhile, STI Coordinator, Dr Keisha Chin said it is in this vein that her department decided to collaborate with the VCT department to roll out the 2021 activity. Persons who test positive will be referred to a medical facility to receive treatment and counselling.

Dr Chin assured that privacy is utmost during the three-day activity.

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