Thursday, January 18, 2018

Backward step in fight against HIV/AIDS

 The T&TMedical Association wishes to express its disappointment with the decision by The UWI to terminate Prof Brendan Bain for statements he made while delivering expert testimony in a court in Belize. This is clearly a case of shooting the messenger!

There is irrefutable evidence that MSMs are at a higher risk of contracting (and spreading) HIV/AIDS. As a matter of fact they were one of the four original groups to be identified as being at risk when HIV first appeared on the scene in 1981 (remember the original 4Hs—homosexuals, haemophiliacs, heroin users and Haitians?) In fact we first became aware of HIV in a cluster of gay men who developed pneumocystis carni pneumonia (PCP) and then another cluster who developed Kaposi’s sarcoma. This prompted the CDC in Atlanta to coin the term “4H disease” and the press coined GRID gay related immune deficiency. 

Three decades later we know that the disease is not isolated to the gay community; however they still remain an at-risk group.

The Medical Association in no way supports discrimination of the LGBT community and strongly advocates that all persons regardless of their sexual orientation be afforded the same respect, dignity and medical care. This however does not diminish  the reality that risky sexual practices must be red-flagged just as other risky lifestyle practices like tobacco, alcohol and recreational drug use are. 

As health care practitioners it is our sworn duty to do so. The cowardly caving in by UWI to pressure from “advocacy” groups that clearly wield great influence as well as control the purse strings is, we feel, a backward step in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Austin Trinidade

Medical Association