Health & WellnessLifestyles

COVID-19 heightens care challenges for the HIV-positive

Appropriate access to The Bahamas AIDS Foundation’s “safe space”, medication monitoring, computers for virtual learning and in-person counseling sessions are a few of many important help and support factors now compromised by COVID-19 protocols.

The coronavirus pandemic has not only taken a toll on the monetary support received by The Bahamas AIDS Foundation, but also on the day-to-day operations and the services it usually provides.

Sensitive to the difficulties this puts on an already challenging circumstance, CIBC FirstCaribbean observed World AIDS Day (December 1) with a donation to The Bahamas AIDS Foundation.

Camille Lady Barnett, the foundation’s president, said the coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant decline in donations.

“While meals are still distributed and counseling sessions are managed virtually, our schooling program for HIV-positive youth, outreach program for adolescents, have been disrupted,” said Barnett.

Dr. Jacqui Bend, CIBC FirstCaribbean’s managing director, said that over the past several years, the financial institution has seen firsthand the positive impact The Bahamas AIDS Foundation has on communities and on young people.

“We understand the importance of the holistic support the foundation provides year-round. Last year, alone, the outreach program for adolescents allowed nearly 100 young persons to receive in-person counseling, job and life skills training to effectively prepare them for adulthood, and monitoring to ensure proper adherence to treatment,” said Bend.

Nikia Christie, CIBC FirstCaribbean’s marketing manager said under the 2021 World AIDS Day theme, “End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics”, people globally are reminded of the urgent need to end societal inequalities that boost AIDS and other pandemics worldwide.

“CIBC FirstCaribbean recognizes the substantial decrease in recorded infections in The Bahamas over the last decade. The bank celebrates with The Bahamas AIDS Foundation and the essential role they play in this achievement, but we know there is much more they wish to accomplish.

“As COVID-19 magnifies inequalities and makes life for HIV-positive persons more challenging, CIBC FirstCaribbean will continue to support organizations like The Bahamas AIDS Foundation.”

CIBC FirstCaribbean’s donation will directly support The Bahamas AIDS Foundation’s ability to continue to help vulnerable Bahamian communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

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