GIS – Senior Medical Officer for Infectious Diseases at the Ministry of Health, Alisha Deborah Eugene recently unveiled the Ministry of Health’s plans to increase screening for patients with HIV.
Cleophus D’Auvergne, Independent Consultant at the Ministry of Health, said while the island’s medical industry currently enjoys marked success in the reduction of HIV patient mortality rates, contraction rates have not declined.
“Fewer people are dying from HIV/AIDS than before. I think we have had less than ten deaths in the last few years. However, the incidences of those contracting the virus have stabilized or slightly increased.
“That means more people are getting infected, and we have to focus on prevention as our main means of controlling the epidemic. So the more people we can get trained, the earlier we can get people diagnosed.”
Ms. Eugene said that HIV/AIDS is not the death sentence it once was, and that advances in medicine have also contributed to patients’ ability to lead normal lives.
“When one is diagnosed at an early stage, there are anti-retroviral treatments that increase one’s chances of survival, so we have a lot more people living with HIV because these people were tested and they were placed on treatment in the early phase,” she explained.
The initiative places focus on enhancing the capabilities of community health care facilities to screen and treat patients with HIV.