HIV/AIDS stigma, discrimination hurting fightback
May 18, 2007
HIV/AIDS stigma, discrimination hurting fightback

This country is losing the fight against HIV/AIDS mainly because of stigma and discrimination.

And, according to Dr. Conrad Nedd (photo below), this is the greatest challenge facing the medical fraternity when it comes to assisting the majority of people living with the illness.{{more}}

Nedd, who spoke on the topic of care and treatment of HIV/AIDS affected persons at Monday’s one-day consultation hosted by the Ministry of Health’s National AIDS Secretariat, said that stigma and discrimination make medical intervention very difficult.

He revealed that only 0.4%, a mere 189 persons, of the projected 0.9% affected by the disease is currently receiving treatment.

Nedd hinted that most persons do not turn up for treatment because of the location of the HIV/AIDS clinic at the outpatient department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

He indicated that most of the persons who have come forward, did so mainly because they tested positive while conducting other tests or because they fell ill.

Nedd also hinted at the difficulty of monitoring the disease among some pregnant women, since some women do not turn up to the hospital until it is time for them to deliver their babies.

Currently there are 10 HIV positive babies at the hospital, six of whom are receiving treatment.

Nedd said that the level of awareness must be raised, and education and communication is vital for the stigma and discrimination which surrounds HIV/AIDS to cease.

He called on those present at the consultation to help in dispelling the myths that cause most people to refuse to come forward for treatment.

Monday’s consultation was held at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown.