By Shermain Bique-Charles
If what the AIDS Programme Manager suspects is true, then most men who are infected with the HIV virus in Antigua and Barbuda could be bisexual.
Delcora Williams voiced that theory during an interview on Observer radio earlier this week.
Her assertion is based on the trend of the transmission of the virus among local men who have been recording the highest number of infections since HIV was first detected here around 1985.
“Most of our males [who are known to be HIV positive] are bisexual but they don’t want to admit that. They are going to want to look ‘normal’, and so they are going to have their man on the side and their girlfriend that makes them look ‘normal’,” she explained.
Williams said that in situations like these, the HIV virus will spread much quicker among the population.
“The woman is at risk because he is having sex with another man which is riskier because the anal sphincter gets torn and the virus is transmitted more easily,” she explained.
Meanwhile, HIV positive people are not legally required to inform their employers about their status and they can take legal action against any company if they are fired because of their illness.
“[A worker who is] cleaning a bed, washing dishes, teaching, whatever profession, does not transmit HIV. In Antigua and Barbuda, the major modes of transmission [are] unprotected sexual intercourse and from a mother to her baby,” the AIDS programme manager said.
A patient who contracts HIV may develop full blown AIDS, which causes complications that may also lead to death.
However, over the years, the disease has been successfully treated through the use of antiretroviral drugs.
Antigua and Barbuda has also successfully eliminated mother to child transmission of HIV.
To date, 1,304 persons — 684 men, 591 women and 29 children in the country — have tested positive for the HIV virus, while 301 patients have died.