BTVI Talks HIV with Students

Nov, 16 2021


Bahamas National HIV/AIDS Programme Prevention Officer, Keith Kemp, recently cautioned students of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) to “be very mindful” of the places where they receive body piercings and tattoos.

“When you are getting body piercings and tattoos, you want to ensure they are from places using proper needles and that they are sterilized; they should not be reused,” warned Mr. Kemp.

Mr. Kemp’s comments came during the institution’s speaker series of which the latest session topic was, Let’s Talk HIV. There are 6,025 people living with HIV/AIDS in The Bahamas as of December 2018. There were 87 AIDS-related deaths that year.

He noted that the window between the time exposed to HIV and the time it is detected, could be up to three months.  Mr. Kemp added that this is why a second test should be taken three months later. The discussion included how the disease is spread and preventative measures. Emphasis was also placed on testing not simply being about protecting the individual, but his or her partner as well.

Meanwhile, although the Bahamas National HIV/AIDS Programme encourages safe sex, Mr. Kemp pointed to abstinence as the best method of prevention.

“Abstinence still works. If you don’t do nothing, you don’t get nothing…get tested before you commit to a relationship. Be in a faithful, committed relationship…we meet young people who are in open relationships in The Bahamas,” he emphasized.

Questioned by BTVI’s nurse, Christon Deveaux as to the confidentiality of HIV positive patients, Mr. Kemp quickly stated that the staff of the unit operate with the highest confidentiality.

“People break their own confidentiality. Patient records are confidential. We are bound to confidentiality…we take our job very seriously,” said Mr. Kemp.

Meanwhile, in the past, BTVI’s Student Affairs department made Know Your Status HIV/HIV testing day a priority on its calendar of events but had to pivot to an online event. Nevertheless, the HIV information session remains a part of the educational component to help students maintain safe healthy sexual practices as the institution seeks to produce well-rounded, healthy citizens.