AIDS Secretariat: records rise in HIV infections among women

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A counsellor at the local AIDS Secretariat said that its records have shown a reverse trend in the transmission of the HIV virus, as the rate of infection among females has increased.
Oswald Hannays said the discovery is worthy of note because, “where in the early [stages] you had perhaps five to six males for every female that were infected, we now have an almost even one to one ratio.”
The secretariat reported that 55 new cases were found in 2016 and the ages of those infected still range from 15 to 49, notwithstanding that older persons are being diagnosed.
Revealing the latest statistics on OBSERVER AM, on Wednesday, Hannays disclosed that since the first diagnosis of HIV was made in Antigua & Barbuda in 1985, an estimated total of 1,155 HIV infections  were recorded as of December 2016.
A few years ago, Hannays highlighted the “trending bisexuality” among residents as a potential contributor to the rise in HIV and explained that when persons have unprotected sex and HIV enters that equation, it can spread to three persons at minimum.
“Regardless of your view, what it is best for you is to access the treatment services so that you can have longevity of life because we still have persons from the earliest cases back in the ‘80s that are still alive today,” Hannays said.
The AIDS counsellor offered advice to residents who place themselves at risk of contraction because they form part of a discordant couple. He dispelled the notion that when only one partner gets tested, that is sufficient, adding that all partners need to know their HIV status.
 “Your partner may have become positive and because you hold to that view that ‘well, I test and I’m okay, so my partner okay’, you expose yourself because you remove the benefit of getting tested and knowing the person’s status and being able to safeguard your health in that sexual relationship.”
(More in today’s Daily Observer)
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