People who intentionally transmit HIV/AIDS to unsuspecting partners may soon find themselves on the wrong side of the law in Grenada, according to Health Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen.
In making her contribution to the debate on the 2013 budget, the Member of Parliament for St. Mark said a tough stand has to be taken against persons who set out to deliberately infect persons with the killer disease.
“There are those who are saying when they discover their positive status, I ain’t going down so alone”, she told Parliament.
However, Modeste-Curwen is warning that in due course, legislation would be tabled in Parliament to force culprits to take legal responsibility for their actions.
She said it is a matter of concern when one hears on the street that an infected person was planning to infect unsuspecting persons because they would have discovered that they are themselves infected by the disease.
“I am going to be speaking with my staff, I think at some point after persons have been advised, after persons have been educated, the law must step in to protect our people.
“We’re going to teach all our citizens and encourage them to take responsibility for their health and their actions so that if somebody is bent on spreading something, if you who are negative do what you suppose to do and do not do what you (are) not supposed to do then maybe this kind of situation would not arise.
So I’m begging everyone, let’s bat in our crease and do what we’re supposed to do so that we can address the spread of this deadly virus.
The health minister said that one of the goals of her Ministry for 2013 is to strengthen the HIV programme in the area of public education and called on the local media to assist in doing so.
“We cannot stop educating the people. We have to continue educating the public about protection, not just from HIV & AIDS but other health related ailments,” she told Parliament.
Minister Modeste-Curwen who is also a qualified medical doctor by profession exhorted the population to exercise precaution and protect themselves when engaging in sexual activities.
She told the House that reviewing the existing data regarding Anti-Retroviral (ARV) treatment is very encouraging.
“Statistics show that out of eleven children who were born of HIV positive mothers, nine of the children were HIV negative … two of the results are pending,” she said.
Grenada’s current HIV/AIDS statistics reveal that for 2012, some 21 new cases were recorded (12 males and 9 females) bringing the total from 1984 to 2012 to 485 recorded cases.
For 2013, eight new cases so far have been recorded (four males and four females) between the ages of 25 to 75 years old.