There is a preconceived notion that ‘Ignorance is bliss’. However, when it comes to HIV and AIDS, knowing your HIV status is better than going about life believing that HIV can never infect or affect you. If people are unaware that they are HIV positive, they will not seek treatment and are more likely to infect others. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS is no respecter of religion, sex, race, financial status, age, or moral upbringing. The stereotype that people living with HIV are sexually promiscuous can discourage people from seeking to know their status.

The Couva District Health Facility challenged stereotypes such as these and educated persons on HIV/AIDS in their pre-Carnival HIV Outreach Programme entitled ‘B 4 U Jam’, which was held on Wednesday 27th February and the Friday 1st March, 2019 under the supervision of Ms. Sherma Hinds, DHV.  Staff partnered with Community Police Officers, who conducted lectures aimed at sensitizing clients to the ‘DOs and DON’Ts of Carnival’ on Wednesday and members of the Mediation Unit who were present on Wednesday and Friday to offer advice to clients.  

People often have a reduced inhibition towards sex and alcohol during Carnival. The intention of the Outreach was to encourage persons to know their HIV status before they engage in sexual activities during Carnival and to sensitise persons that being aware of their status protects them as well as their partners. On both days, clients were able to receive HIV Counselling and Rapid-Testing, which allowed clients to know their HIV status within fifteen minutes.

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