Roach's call

John Sealy,

Added 01 December 2012

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As Barbados joins the world in celebrating World AIDS Day today, one of the pioneers in the early treatment of HIV/AIDS is urging health planners to move rapidly to making HIV testing as routinely available as a blood pressure check. Professor Timothy Roach, who was awarded a Gold Crown Of Merit (GCM) in Barbados’ 46th Independence Honours for his contribution to medicine, particularly in the fight against HIV/AIDS, made the call while speaking to the SATURDAY SUN yesterday. “Every time you attend a doctor or health institution you should be offered [an HIV] test – in the same way as you now have your blood pressure taken. With the availability of rapid testing technologies, this is now a procedure that takes a maximum of 20 minutes,” he said. “For years we have been preaching that HIV testing cannot be performed without prior, pre- and post-test counselling, with all the associated risk assessment, emphasis on safe sex, and problems of disclosure. I would like to suggest that VCT [voluntary, counselling and testing] is a concept that has had its day.”

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