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Jeshua Bardoo is a Vincentian barrister-at-law and solicitor.
Jeshua Bardoo is a Vincentian barrister-at-law and solicitor.
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By *Jeshua Bardoo

Recently, very concerning news broke of increased HIV infections amongst young people in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

Today, though there is still no cure, HIV/AIDS is no longer the death sentence that it used to be. Due to the advancement of medicine in relation to the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, many people living with HIV/AIDS can now live long healthy lives. Whilst taking HIV medication, they can even get an undetectable viral load, which means they will not be able to transmit HIV to a sex partner. Undetectable means untransmissible.

One of the areas in which technology has greatly advanced concerning the prevention of HIV/AIDS, and on which I will focus for the purpose of this article, is PrEP.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), “is medicine that reduces your chances of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV”. CDC further states that “PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed”.

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With such an effective advancement in the prevention of HIV, PrEP should be widely available in SVG. Based on public information I have read in the local media, I was informed that allegedly PrEP will be rolled out in 2024 in SVG. I hope that this does indeed happen and that there will be no undue delays.

Apart from making PrEP widely available, SVG should do more to educate young people about various issues surrounding their sexuality. Any increased availability of PrEP should go hand in hand with increased sexuality education. It would make little sense to have HIV preventative medication widely available if young people don’t know about or understand it, and how to take better care of their sexual health.

Sex is a normal part of being a human being. It is not something to be ashamed of or shamed about. Whether or not some people like or agree with it, young people from various age brackets are having sex in SVG. If young people don’t properly learn about sex at home, school, or even at church, they are going to learn about it somewhere else, and in the process, they might make decisions that can negatively affect them for the rest of their lives. Let’s equip young people with the knowledge they need to make the best decisions to protect their and other people’s sexual health.

Today, I encourage the State of SVG to do more to educate young people about their sexual health and to invest more in the healthcare system, particularly in relation to HIV prevention medicine, by making PrEP more widely available, accessible, affordable, and/or free, for persons in SVG.

SVG should ensure that the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is possible.

* Jeshua Bardoo is a Vincentian lawyer with an LLM in international human rights law. He is also the Founder and President of Equal Rights, Access and Opportunities SVG Inc. He can be contacted via email at [email protected]

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

One reply on “SVG should invest in HIV preventative medication PrEP”

  1. Joshua I concur with your concerns about the spread of HIV. However, what Jeshua failed to mention is¹ that the spread of HIVis highest […] among men who have sex with men. I rest my case, Jeshua. Another question: what iniative is take by the gay community to lesson the spread of HIV?

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