SARASOTA- Saturday is Caribbean- American HIV awareness day, and CAN Community Health is encouraging everyone to get tested. The Caribbean region has some of the sharpest declines in new HIV infections worldwide with a drop of more than 42 percent since 2001. Although tremendous progress has been made in the region, there is still a negative stigma associated with HIV.

“Why it’s so important to talk about HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean community,” Yelitza Lemoine said. “Is because of the perception of what HIV and AIDS is among them. For many, many years in the Caribbean people were afraid to do testing because they are going to feel a little bit discriminated because of the concept especially in Haiti, people have a misconception that people that came from Haiti had a lot of HIV.”

CAN Community health is encouraging people to head to a clinic for free and confidential testing.