Director of the NHAC, Jacqueline Wiltshire Gay (FP)????
As the National HIV/AIDS Commission (NHAC) wrapped up its two-day research symposium at Hilton Barbados today, participants were implored by immediate past Chairman, Dr. Carol Jacobs, to see research as an exercise for all stakeholders, not merely doctors and academics.
In her review of the symposium, she challenged those present, including National HIV Education Coordinators from the public sector, civil society and persons from the medical and research fraternity, to take a multi-sectoral approach to HIV research.??
"Whose responsibility is it to do research??? It is everyone’s? Not the academics, not the HIV Commission… Our response needs to be a mixed one and result in tailor-made messages… We need to investigate the linkages between sexuality, sexual culture, gender relations, poverty and drug use, as drivers of risk for contracting HIV," Dr. Jacobs said.
Broad-based research, she asserted, was critical and should be based on human rights, gender equality and social inclusion.?? Dr. Jacobs, however, highlighted that time was of the essence in this matter and stated that: "HIV is different for a lot of reasons. Mainly because, with this epidemic, we do not have the luxury of doing things in a leisurely way.?? There are new infections every day."
While noting that funding for research was limited, it was, she asserted, critical to coordinate and investigate the research gaps that exist. For example, she said, the mentally and physically challenged in society.?????? The resultant high-quality data, she opined, should then lead to evidence-based programmes and guide policy.??
Director of the NHAC, Jacqueline Wiltshire Gay, backed this call and urged participants to utilise the useful information delivered at the workshop. "We are all affected and we must all be involved… and research is critical in this regard. So that, when people ask why we are doing this or that, we can say because the evidence shows that it is needed," Ms. Wiltshire-Gay stressed.
The symposium saw research papers presented on Increasing Access to HIV/AIDS Service through Evidence-Based Programming; From Risk to Vulnerability in the Caribbean Context of HIV; Survey of Drug Use and Risky Sexual Behaviour; Intersections Between HIV/AIDS and Violence against Women: Barbados and Dominica; HIV Services in Barbados: The Client’s Perspective, among others.