For Gary, there have been positive changes in the support provided to him, and a more holistic approach is used to integrate his care.
The government provides Gary with HIV medication, he is currently on 4th line drugs which is the last level of treatment for patients. Healthy meals and positive support are also provided. Gary credits Ms. Monique Rey, Coordinator Mental Health Services at the Health Authority of Anguilla for being a great support to him. Monique Rey was responsible for counseling Gary Gumbs during his period of alcoholism and subsequent HIV+ status.
Monique recalls that Gary’s journey was tough but that she stood by and encouraged him, reminding him that he also had a big role to play in what he was going through. “I stuck with him, tried to show him that all was not lost. If you make the change then things will get better, it is not all about the medication, it is all about you and the change in lifestyle,” she said.
The Health Authority of Anguilla is a statutory body responsible for providing health services to the people of Anguilla. The Princess Alexandra Hospital is the only hospital on island with a psychiatric ward, which has ten beds. Anguilla currently has five trained mental health nurses who also offer community outreach services. Many clients are treated in the community, Gary Gumbs is one of them.