World AIDS Day HIV Testing at Scotiabank Saturday

St. Maarten AIDS Foundation is marking the occasion of World AIDS Day 2014 by holding a free and confidential HIV testing day on Saturday, November 29th, at Scotiabank in Philipsburg. Testing is open to the public from 10am to 3:30pm, and will incorporate a number of different announcements and events.

As in years past, the AIDS Foundation welcomes three radio stations to the World AIDS Day testing. PJD2, Island 92, and x104 will be present to broadcast from the bank, imparting important information about HIV, interviewing people involved, and encouraging listeners to come get tested.

At 12:30pm, Sahil Khatnani, a sixth grader at Learning Unlimited, will make a donation to the AIDS Foundation from funds raised through selling red ribbon key chains and bracelets. It will be the culmination of a 3-month long effort, aided only by his sister, Aisha and his mother, Nisha.

At 1pm, the winner of the week-long World AIDS Day Facebook contest will be randomly chosen and announced. Every day since November 22nd, the AIDS Foundation has been posting facts about HIV/AIDS on its Facebook page (, and those who like the page and like the post have been entered into a drawing. The winner will receive two passes to the Flyzone Zipline at Loterie Farm. It is Loterie Farm’s second year to donate the prize for the World AIDS Day event.

At 2pm, the top five people who brought the most number of people to get tested will be announced and awarded with tickets donated by Teen Times, to the Talent Showdown event taking place that evening at the Westin Resort. Those wishing to participate must sign up at registration when coming in for testing.

At 2:30pm, the AIDS Foundation and Scotiabank welcome the new singing group ARIAS to perform classical and modern pop songs for those gathered.

“We strive to get the word out widely, that it is important to get tested and to get those around you to be tested”, remarked Dr. Gerard van Osch, President of the AIDS Foundation. “HIV is preventable, and knowing that you don’t have it is the first step – so testing is key. When you know that you do not have it, you tend to take better care to ensure that you do not get it in the future. If you find that you do have it, then we work together to ensure that proper care is given to take control of the virus”. Testing involves only a small finger prick and results are available within 15 minutes. Tests are anonymous and linked to the person only by a one-time identifier.

“We can all do something to mark World AIDS Day. Get tested, encourage others to get tested, talk to others about HIV, wear a red ribbon – there is something each of us can do to recall that HIV/AIDS is still here and we cannot afford to stay indifferent to it”, noted Dr. van Osch.