There are now two HIV Care Centers in the Virgin Islands. On St. Thomas, the HIV Care Center is located in the John Moorhead Health Complex, behind Lionel Roberts Stadium. On St. Croix, the newest HIV Care Center has opened in the Frederiksted Clinic. Services are available at these Care Centers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
After a hiatus of service, HIV testing is now available again. Counseling and testing services are available on both St. Thomas and St. Croix at the HIV Care Centers. In addition, HIV counseling and testing is available on St. John at the Myrah Keating-Smith Clinic every other Wednesday. HIV testing is provided free of charge for those who cannot otherwise afford it. Persons who are at risk of HIV infection are encouraged to call or visit the HIV Care Centers for information and advice.
In addition to the HIV screening tests, many of the expensive laboratory tests needed for the routine care of persons living with HIV infection and AIDS are now also available through the HIV Care Centers. This includes the HIV viral load and the CD4 cell count tests. Again, these tests are available free of charge for persons who cannot otherwise afford them.
Finally, through a partnership including the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development Inc., and Doctors Choice Pharmacy, a full formulary of HIV medications is available for persons living with HIV infection and AIDS. These medications can be accessed through the HIV Care Centers and are provided free of charge for persons who cannot otherwise afford them. Patients already diagnosed with HIV infection or AIDS who are not currently receiving medications are strongly encouraged to contact the HIV Care Centers.
In addition to these services, the HIV/STD Program will be initiating an aggressive HIV surveillance campaign throughout the territory. Although law requires the reporting of communicable diseases to the Department of Health, compliance with this statute has been less than optimal. In the upcoming months, physicians and laboratories will be encouraged to participate in this HIV surveillance system.
By being able to accurately document the numbers of HIV and AIDS cases in the Territory, we can demonstrate the need for continued federal support that allows the territory to provide the services mentioned above. This data also helps the Health Department target prevention efforts towards groups found to be at high risk of becoming infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment please call the HIV Care Centers: St. Thomas 774-3168 and St. Croix 772-9501. For information on the availability of services on St. John, call 693-8900.