Antigua: Gay men urged to get tested

Antigua: Gay men urged to get tested

Antigua Observer:-It was not that long ago that gay people were outcasts in society and now they are being encouraged to come out, not to put their identity on display, but to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

AIDS Specialist attached to the AIDS Secretariat Education Unit, Dr Raphael Garcia said more focus needs to be placed on target groups like men who have sex with men, who according to him are not being targeted very well.

“In most countries, more than 80 or 90 per cent of the new cases that they have, is in the MSM [men who have sex with men] population; We are getting some, but part of that population is hidden,” he told OBSERVER media.

Garcia said while the percentage may not be the same in Antigua & Barbuda, it is difficult to say for sure, since gay men are not coming to be tested or don’t indicate that they sleep with other men on the standard risk assessment form.

In fact, Dr Garcia said the trends for testing are so irregular that it is difficult to determine whether the total number of people infected with the disease is going up or down.

The AIDS Secretariat here, however, remains optimistic as the number of people being tested each year increases. The goal is to reach at least 10 per cent of the entire population annually

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