REGIONAL TESTING DAY (RTD) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year and is aiming to test 100,000 people in the Caribbean. In 2016, over twenty thousand (20,000) people were tested in 20 countries at over 300 testing sites.
Regional Testing Day which started as an idea by Dr. Allyson Leacock has been organised by LIVE UP: The Caribbean Media Alliance for the last ten years, with the support of 2 critical strategic partners: Scotiabank and the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV AIDS (PANCAP). Scotiabank makes their bank branches accessible so the public can be tested as easily as they do their banking business while extending hospitality to the testing and counselling teams and taking care of any external infrastructure needed at testing sites. PANCAP mobilizes all Ministries and Departments of Health who in turn provide all the Counseling and Testing Teams. The Ministries of Health provide the testing kits, expertise and resources to conduct the testing at the agreed locations. These entities continue to support the innovative and successful Public/Private Partnership Initiative Regional Testing Day jointly introduced in 2008 with 6 countries and 2300 people being tested.
LIVE UP is responsible for coordinating Media promotion for Regional Testing Day which is provided free of charge through its 112 radio and TV stations in 24 Caribbean countries. LIVE UP manages the overall coordination of the event in all 21 participating countries. This initiative is led by the media who facilitate interviews and other programming, to educate the public and encourage them to get tested and know their status.
On this important anniversary, a careful review shows that Regional Testing Day’s original Goals have now been achieved:
- The creation of the first media – lead initiative to raise awareness and share information about HIV testing
- The mobilisation of Caribbean people to be tested and to heighten public awareness and education on the critical importance of Voluntary Counselling and Testing in preventing the spread of HIV infection
- The reduction of stigma and discrimination related to HIV and AIDS (although we still have more work to do to challenge the persistent stigma and discrimination)
- Demonstration of the effectiveness of partnership with this initiative being a model of the power of Public Private Partnership (PPP)
The Regional Testing Day 2017 campaign will officially kickoff with an Awards Ceremony and Media Launch on May 26th, 2017 at the Hilton Barbados Resort in Bridgetown Barbados with UN Special Envoy on HIV to the Caribbean Dr. Edward Greene. The Prime Minister of Barbados the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Q.C. M.P. and the Leader of the Barbados Opposition BLP the Hon. Mia Mottley, Q.C. M.P are scheduled to deliver Statements of Commitment from the Barbados Government and the Opposition respectively.
For this year’s 10th anniversary campaign, which will run until Regional Testing Day Friday June 30th, we have refreshed and remixed our popular local jingle by overwhelming request, with Bajan talent in LIVE UP Champions: Biggie Irie, a Groovy Soca Monarch, Mahalia Cummins from the dynamic Bajan band Two Mile Hill, and Tamara Marshall formerly with Spice Band.