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Ferry Tickets and Gas Cards Provide Incentive for HIV/AIDS Testing

Aug. 27, 2007 — The St. Thomas-based HIV/AIDS organization HOPE (Helping Others in a Positive Environment) has a couple of giveaways planned for Friday and Saturday on St. Thomas that will make it a little easier for people to get around.
HOPE staff members will set up its mobile van across from East End Lumber to test for HIV/AIDS. All those who get tested will be eligible to win one of 25 monthly ferry commuter tickets courtesy of Varlack Ventures. The ferry runs between Red Hook, St. Thomas, and Cruz Bay, St. John.
Testing runs from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
"Last time we did this, we got some positives," said HOPE Chief Executive Officer Ivy Moses.
On Saturday, women who get tested for HIV/AIDS and other diseases at Four Winds Texaco at Tutu, St. Thomas, get a free $20 Texaco gas card. Testing runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"Only women qualify for gas cards, but anyone can get tested," Moses said. The gas cards are funded through a federal grant, and HOPE has $1,000 worth of cards to give away, she said.
Participants at the Saturday event, which is part of its women's outreach program, will also be tested for diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure and body-mass index, Moses said. Many people in the territory suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer, she said.
"Most of the diseases, except cancer, can be resolved if you change some of your behavior," Moses said.
HOPE staff members will be trained to look for the signs that indicate women and children are victims of human trafficking, and that evaluation will soon be part of HOPE's screening, she said.
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