The Ministry of Health in Barbados has said the annual rate of HIV infection cases is on the decline.
Health Minister John Boyce, says this is due to the expanded use of anti-retroviral therapy in the HIV treatment programme as well as steps now being taken to decentralize HIV services and offer diagnostic and treatment services outside of the HIV programme.
Addressing a Caribbean Regional Health Policy Project workshop earlier this week, welcomed the outcomes of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Health Policy Project which he said provided a country-specific road map for a coordinated response to the challenge of stigma and discrimination in health care facilities in the Caribbean.
“While medical and technological innovations such an anti-retroviral treatment can help to prolong life for persons living with HIV, there are aspects of the response which cannot be addressed in this way. Our attitudes are personal, they influence our behaviour and interactions with each other, either consciously or unconsciously,” Boyce said.
He told delegates that it was therefore necessary to have in place programmes for constant training and retraining to help health care workers to understand their own belief systems and attitudes that might influence their response to clients.