Members of the Caribbean Dermatology Association have gathered in Grenada for their annual general meeting to be informed, educated and updated on the latest scientific, surgical and clinical developments in the Caribbean.
The objective of the three–day meeting which began on 30 October is to be able to identify developments that can positively impact the diagnosis, treatment and management of dermatological disease and conditions within the Caribbean region. Participants will also at the end have a better understanding of diagnostic and management approaches to challenging cases through the presentation and discussion of live clinical cases and be prepared to apply the knowledge gained to decisions regarding the diagnosis, management and treatment of dermatological patients in the Caribbean.
With topics ranging from various issues such as the link between Vitamin D and the skin; the myth and fact about diet and acne and skin thickening, the presenters will also be sharing scientific experiences and cases studies about skin problems.
Among the speakers are HIV Specialist, Dr Jeffery Edwards who will be doing presentation of HIV and the skin. Edwards said doctors, especially general practitioners, need to become aware about the relationship between HIV and the skin. “A patient’s skin tells a lot, and certain skin problems should be a trigger to ask the patient about his or her skin,” he said.
“It’s not to say that HIV patients have specific or special skin problems to a HIV negative person — it is just that the condition might be more extreme. So for example, dandruff and dry skin may be a more severe,” he explained.
“What is important, is that even if a person is HIV positive, a skin condition is just another opportunistic infection and ARV (Antiretroviral) treatment can clear up the skin problem, so it’s important for doctors to engage patients to know their status, especially in cases where it appears that the skin is a little more than just dry or not responsive to regular treatment,” he said.
Edwards who is a credentialed as a HIV specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine and is the consultant attached to the Queen’s Park Counselling Centre and Clinic in Trinidad, said that a low CD4 count and high viral load is usually the cause of skin problems in HIV patients.
“What I have observe is that once a patient is on medication and body starts responding positively to the ARV, the skin problem will go away in time, so that is why it’s important for doctors themselves to know more about the relationship between HIV and skin, because HIV is a chronic disease which persons can live with for a long time,” he said.