Anita Radix, M.D., Grenada/New York
My name is Anita Radix and I'm originally from Grenada, which is in the Caribbean. I recently relocated to New York. I'm a physician. I work with HIV-positive patients.
Of course it's very different in New York, but when I was working in the Caribbean it was a very difficult situation to work as a physician with clients who were really not able to access care. Especially for MSM, there's a great deal of invisibility. A lot of people don't want to disclose their sexuality or what they're doing.
As one of the few "out" physicians -- I'm a lesbian physician -- I did get a lot of MSM clients who felt comfortable coming to me. But, for the majority of people, they don't [access care].
The other issue is access to medication. Even if you're diagnosed, the country you're in -- because I worked in several islands -- you can get tested, but they don't have rapid testing. It takes a long time to get the results. When you have the results, there's an issue with confidentiality. Often, people on the street will know your diagnosis before you're told the diagnosis. That's one of the first issues. There's a lot of stigma. People are seen in the hospital and everyone knows what they're there for.
Then, of course, there are other issues, like access to medications. If you need it, you may not get it. The medications are expensive. Even if you get the medications, maybe, in the country you're in, you may not be able to have your CD4 count or your viral load [tests].
None of the islands I worked with have resistance testing. They're probably, if you think about it, maybe 10 years behind where we are in New York, on all fronts.