Nation e-Edition

Infection rate remains high for HIV

Minister of Health Donville Inniss (FP)

Tue, December 07, 2010 - 12:06 AM

DESPITE THE WORK of HIV/AIDS programme volunteers, the cases of HIV in Barbados remain high, especially among men.

“It is generally accepted that men have poorer health seeking behaviours than women. In the context of HIV, men are therefore more likely to be tested and diagnosed with HIV at later stages of the disease process [than women] and this issupported by the data,” said Minister of Health Donville Inniss as he gave the feature address at the Ministry of Health HIV Volunteers Awards, held Saturday at Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, Rockley, Christ Church.

Inniss said because of this it was necessary to strengthen specialty programmes which targeted men’s sexual and reproductive health. He also gave some statistics taken from the Barbados HIV/AIDS surveillance report 2008 as well as preliminary figures for 2009.

In 2009, there were 111 people diagnosed with HIV and 34 deaths among people living with HIV, mostly men.

Between 1984 and 2008 there were 1 436 deaths, with 73 per cent of those being men.

In 2008, 60 per cent of people living with HIV entered care at a very late stage, and in 2009, 58 per cent sought care late.

In 2009, 104 new patients registered for care at the Ladymeade Reference Unit, with 35 per cent of those being severely immuno-compromised.

“Despite hard work and dedication, there is still room for improvement. The Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy programme has been seen as a great success due to significant reductions in morbidity and mortality but little has changed with HIV incidence.

“It is evident, therefore, that while there has been much improvement, the work must continue.

“What is also evident is the great contribution made by volunteers and persons who help in other areas of the programmes,” he said. (CA)

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