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Health and Wellness Fair offers free testing at City Hall

By NEWSDAY REPORTER Thursday, December 12 2013

Ministry of Labour and Small Micro Enterprise Development (MOLSMED), in recognising the significant strides that have been made in the fight against HIV and Aids, held a Health and Wellness Fair which they offered free testing to staff members of the ministry.

The Health and Wellness Fair was held at City Hall, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain.

The fair was hosted by the HIV/AIDS Workplace Advocacy and Sustainability Centre (HASC), a unit of the ministry, that has been mandated to address HIV and AIDS as a workplace issue, and to ensure that all workplaces in TT are free from HIV and AIDS- related stigma and discrimination. The fair was held to commemorate World AIDS Day.

The staff members were offered HIV testing and a wide range of health testing such as: blood sugar, blood glucose, blood pressure along with information and educational booths on safe sex, and living a healthy life style.

Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Carl Francis, addressed the gathering and said, “Health and wellness not only constitutes a state of physical well-being, but must be viewed in a holistic manner; one’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health are equally important.”

He said recent UN AIDS statistics showed that there has been a decline in new infections, and a decrease in AIDS-related deaths.

Francis went on to say “promising signs that persons infected with HIV are living longer, healthier lives, and it also mirrors a reduction in infections.”

The fact that new HIV infection rates have fallen globally provides further motivation to the ministry’s efforts at targeting the world of work for HIV educational programmes, to strengthen their resolve and their efforts to deal with this phenomenon, he said.

The UN AIDS statistics show that in the Caribbean for 2012: 250,000 persons are living with HIV, 12,000 with new HIV infections, and an approximate total of 11,000 AIDS-related deaths.

Manger Tania Parrot said, “this is our first health and wellness day event that HASC has held for the Ministry of Labour in commemoration of World AIDS Day, and we will like to continue the programme in the future.”

She said, members and staff will be tested for: blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, cancer screening, and HIV testing.

Parrot said “HASC has a national programme where we run educational programmes in the workplace. We promote the adoption of the national workplace policy on each of the needs for the employers. HASC encourages employers to adopt different policies and programmes in their workplace, to decreased stigma discrimination, for persons working and living with HIV/AIDS.” The workplace is an excellent environment to run educational programmes because you have so many people in one place.

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