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Bain risked stigma by shielding HIV+ persons

Published:Monday | May 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Many years ago when treatment for HIV in Jamaica was in its infancy, I had a conversation with Dr Brendan Bain. I suggested he consider being discrete in how he incorporated the care of HIV-positive patients into his hugely successful internal-medicine practice.

The concern was that non-HIV patients may abandon his practice out of fear of association with a physician treating HIV-positive patients, being themselves labelled HIV-positive or considering themselves at increased for the disease.

Forthright and honest, Dr Bain politely and firmly corrected me. He was dedicated to the welfare of voiceless and powerless, almost-abandoned HIV-positive patients, and intended to openly provide them optimal, comprehensive and affordable care.

It is an unfortunate and ironic twist: gay advocates are now passionately calling for his removal from the position he helped develop to provide members of their community, whom the disease dispro-portionately affects, with needed services.

Those familiar with the infectious-disease literature will fully endorse the accuracy and authenticity of the high risk of HIV among men having sex with men (MSM). MSM is the single highest risk factor associated with acquiring HIV among all groups,



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