To reinforce its policy to "Treat All" of the more than 8,500 people living with HIV in the Bahamas, the Ministry of Health has launched a new programme to promoted the continued education of physicians on the virus.
The national “HIV Continued Medical Education for Physicians", said the ministry, is in keeping with its mandate to ensure that the highest quality of services for health promotion, health protection and health care are accessible to all residents of Bahamas.
Ministry of Health surveillance reports indicate that there are 8,667 people living with HIV in the Bahamas. As such, the ministry encourages physicians to continue their education and training in this area. One of the objectives of the training, as explained by National HIV/AIDS Programme Director Dr Nikkiah Forbes, is to reinforce the ministry’s “Treat All” policy, which warrants that all persons with HIV have available to them the opportunity to consult with their primary care physician in a private clinical setting in their community.
It is envisioned that this approach will also act as an impetus for persons who are presently not on anti-retroviral medication to seek care and receive lifesaving medication.
It will also act as a platform to allow for more primary and family care physicians in both public and private health facilities to be able to comfortably provide a full spectrum of primary care services to patients living with HIV, including regular viral load testing, counselling, initiation and monitoring of anti-retroviral therapy.
More importantly, it will also target and prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV for expectant mothers.