In response to a recent advisory from the Ministry of Health regarding an increase in HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the territory, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) is urging residents to get tested.

A press release from the RVIPF’s Family and Juvenile Unit expressed strong support for the Ministry’s concerns about the alarming rise in infection rates. The unit highlighted the particular vulnerability of children and young adults to these health risks.

“We would also wish to add that given the steady increase in these numbers, children and young adults, as a particularly vulnerable group, may be exposed to the associated risks. The RVIPF therefore urges parents to augment their supervision of their children and where necessary, get them tested,” the RVIPF stated.

The police also issued a stern reminder about the legal implications of engaging in unprotected sexual activity without disclosing one’s positive HIV status. “It is a criminal offence for infected persons who are aware of their status to continue to participate in unprotected sexual activity without informing their partner,” the statement emphasized.

The RVIPF further explained that this behavior is punishable under Section 325 of the Criminal Code, Revised Edition 2013, which stipulates a maximum prison sentence of up to fourteen years for those found guilty.

“In keeping with the Ministry of Health’s advisory, the RVIPF urges members of the public to get tested and act responsibly to avoid serious criminal liability,” the police advised.

This appeal comes at a critical time as health authorities work to mitigate the spread of HIV and STIs within the community. Residents are encouraged to utilize local health services for testing and to engage in safe sexual practices to protect themselves and others.