The American Medical Women Association and Phi Delta Epsilon from American University of Antigua (AUA) teamed up with Dr. Lestor Simon, Chief Pathologist of the Mount St John Medical Centre and Dr. Prince Ramsey, Family Physician and HIV/AIDS Clinical Care Coordinator in Antigua and Barbuda, in conducting an HIV /AIDS Seminar at the AUA Campus at Jabberwock. The theme of the seminar was “Stop Aids. Be Safe” and involved several key speakers and live testimonials from HIV patients.
SGA Executive Board President Dona T. Hasou remarked, “When we, the students of AUA, heard about the increasing incidence of HIV in Antigua, we felt that it was important for us, as future physicians, to help in some way. This seminar not only serves to provide information about prevention but also raises money for Antiguan organizations that have made the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS their mission.”
“We can read so much about HIV in our classes but this seminar gives us the opportunity to listen to doctors that interact with HIV daily and also hear first-hand testimonials of how it is affecting the lives of the people who have it,” said Phi Delta Epsilon President Gary Livingstone.
Dr. Simon explained the importance of making the transfer of molecular nexus of the disease to what happens socially in sexual engagement – Abstention vs. tropism. He stressed the importance of safety and testing.
Dr. Prince Ramsey welcomed the students and explained that he has been offering voluntary counseling and treating HIV patients since 1986 when Antigua saw the first case on the island. “There is room for the medical students to participate in the voluntary program,” he said. He explained that the problem facing us is that the patients do not take the medication once they feel okay. This causes them to develop a resistance to the disease to which they eventually succumb. Currently, there are 164 patients in HIV care and the disease is more prevalent in females.
Public Health Consultant and Researcher Elenor Frederick explained that she is currently engaged in research to be able to allow for testing the viral loads in Antigua to more effectively track the virus, evaluate the response to therapy, and monitor patients. This is critical for evaluating the response to the disease.