Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Treatment of persons with HIV/AIDS, including health care facilities, access to government services, and attitude of the general population

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 24 February 2000
Citation / Document Symbol VCT33951.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Treatment of persons with HIV/AIDS, including health care facilities, access to government services, and attitude of the general population, 24 February 2000, VCT33951.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad7a34.html [accessed 22 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

An epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' capital Kingstown provided the following information (24 Feb. 2000). The epidemiologist manages national statistics for the Ministry and works closely with the coordinator of the AIDS/STD programme.

While there are no clinics in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines that provide specialized health care services to persons suffering from HIV/AIDS, health services for AIDS patients are intertwined with the primary health care system that includes hospitals and 39 health care clinics across the country.

The Ministry of Health has a Health Education Unit that disseminates information to the public, including information on HIV/AIDS prevention. It also sponsors a Family Life Education Program in primary and secondary schools that would include a section on HIV/AIDS. Some non-governmental organizations have organized workshops in rural and urban areas to educate citizens about the disease. There is a church-based group called House of Hope that plans to establish a home for HIV/AIDS sufferers in order to provide them with a safe space and a support structure.

The lack of medication to help prolong the lives of AIDS patients is one of the biggest obstacles facing these individuals. The medical system can assist with short-term and primary health care, but longer-term care and medication, such as the required AZT, are available, but only to those who can afford them. There is a program in place that provides funding for services for pregnant women who are HIV-positive.

The primary health care system is universal and free of charge, although there is a small fee to be paid for the purchase of drugs. Citizens can access health care facilities without any major impediment as the roads and the transportation system are in good condition in both urban and rural areas.

With regards to the attitude of the general population, the epidemiologist stated that HIV/AIDS is stigmatized in the country and is not totally accepted among the population. Despite several education campaigns to destigmatize the disease, there remains an unwillingness to discuss it openly. The coordinator of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association (SVGHRA) also stated that stigmatization of HIV/AIDS exists in the country and added that the general population perceives this disease as shameful. She further added that discrimination against HIV/AIDS sufferers is usually instigated by a sufferer's own family (23 Feb. 2000).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Ministry of Health, Kingstown. 24 February 2000. Telephone interview with an epidemologist.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association (SVGHRA), Kingstown.  23 February 2000. Telephone interview with the coordinator.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Europa World Year Book 1999. 1999.

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 1999-2000.

Latin America Regional Reports: Caribbean and Central America Report [London]. 1999-2000.

World News Connection (WNC)

Internet Sites, including:

Pan America Health Organization Caribbean Program Coordination (PAHO/CPC)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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