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Barbados

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OVERVIEW

In Barbados, you can access many forms of contraceptives, such as condoms and birth control pills, without a prescription. They are available at pharmacies, clinics, and the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA). For other methods of contraception, such as IUDs or contraceptive shots, you can contact health care providers or BFPA to find how to access them. You can find emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) available at hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies, and a prescription is rarely required. While the law may state that a prescription is required, this appears to be rarely enforced.

There are no known travel or residency restrictions related to foreigners who are HIV-positive, meaning that anybody can visit or reside in Barbados, regardless of their HIV status. You can find Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) in Barbados -- but, as of September 2018, we cannot find any evidence of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) being available. The HPV vaccine is available, and there is a nationwide HPV vaccination program. You can find medications for yeast infections, as well as other infections, at pharmacies. There are also tampons and pads/pantyliners for sale in pharmacies and markets, but menstrual cups are only available from a select group of sellers.

Maternity leave is available to women who have been employed for at least 12 months. They can take a minimum of 12 weeks off, and If illness occurs, a medical practitioner can also recommend an additional 6 weeks of leave on top of the minimum 12 weeks. The maternal mortality rate was 27 deaths per 100,000 live births, as of 2017.

As of 2012, abortion is legal under many circumstances, but it is not available upon request. For a full descripion of the circumstances under which abortion is legal, please visit the "Abortion" section below.

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

Contraceptive options available at a Bridgetown pharmacy (September 2018)

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Barbados, you can obtain birth control pills, contraceptive patches, or condoms over-the-counter. No prescription is necessary.[1] [2] For other forms of birth control, such as intra-uterine devices (IUDs), contraceptive implants, or contraceptive injectables, you will need to visit a clinic, hospital, or health care provider.

Generally speaking, Barbados does not have a high fertility rate. It was estimated that the fertility rate was 1.68 children born per woman in 2017, which made the fertility rate roughly comparable to Luxembourg.[3] According to a 2015 report, it was found that about 60% of women in Barbados (who were married/in unions and of reproductive age) used any form of contraception, including traditional methods, which was slightly lower than the Caribbean average for contraceptive use (62%). Furthermore, it was found that about 16% of women in Barbados had unmet family needs. The most common forms of contraception were birth control pills (used by about 22% of women) and condoms (used by about 20% of women). This was followed by contraceptive injectables (5%), female sterilization (5%), and IUDs (3%). Less than one percent of women used contraceptive implants, male sterilization, or female barrier methods as their form of contraception, respectively. As for traditional methods, about 2% of women used withdrawal, also known as the "pull-out method," and 1% used the rhythm method.[4]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • In Barbados, you can obtain condoms at pharmacies, clinics, and the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA). Some of the brands you can expect to find are Durex, Vitalis, and Erotim.
  • You can obtain contraceptive pills (birth control pills) at pharmacies, clinics, and the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA). No prescription is necessary. The pills can be obtained over-the-counter. You'll typically find brands from international pharmaceutical companies. Some of the brands you can expect to find are Exluton, Cerazette, Diane 35, Femiane, Gynera, Logynon, Microgynon 30, Qlaira, Yasmin, and Yaz.[5]
  • It appears that the contraceptive ring (Nuvaring) is not commonly available in Barbados, and it may not be available at all. Most pharmacies will not have it, and they probably won't be able to even special order it (but you can ask and see). We were also told by a pharmacist that it used to be available on the island, but it no longer seems to be available (September 2018).
  • The contraceptive patch (Evra) is available in Barbados, though it's not extremely common and tends to be rather expensive. For this reason, you may need to special order it from some pharmacies, though other pharmacies may have it in stock.[6]
  • You can obtain an intra-uterine device (IUD) at clinics, hospitals, or the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA). You should contact your intended provider for details.
  • You can obtain a contraceptive shot (such as Depo-Provera) at clinics, hospitals, or the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA). You should contact your intended provider for details.

Costs[edit]

  • The cost for male condoms will vary, depending on the brand and pharmacy. However, you can expect to pay a range of $2-6 BBD for a box of condoms, as of September 18, at a pharmacy in Bridgetown.
  • The cost for contraceptive pills (birth control pills) will vary, depending on the brand and pharmacy. However, you can expect to pay a range of $6-30 BBD for a box of birth control pills, as of September 18, at a pharmacy in Bridgetown. For example, at one pharmacy in Bridgetown, here were the quoted prices in September 2018: Logynon $7.35, Microgynon $6.75, Femiane $17.70, Diane 35 $22.65, and Yasmin $28.15.
  • The cost for the contraceptive patch can run around $100 BBD, as of September 2018.

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Barbados, emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) are legally available at hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. No prescription is required at some pharmacies, but other pharmacies will ask for a prescription.[7]. Officially, a prescription seems to be required by law in Barbados. However, when we contacted pharmacies, about half seemed to require a prescription, and the other half did not. According to one pharmacy, "Many pharmacies in the island dispense certain medications at their own discretion, with or without a prescription. In most cases, a prescription is required as a measure to protect both patient and pharmacist."

It is important to understand that some pharmacists may refuse to sell emergency contraceptive pills. According to a 2008 study, nearly half of all health care providers in Barbados have refused to sell such pills to "eligible women" at some point because of their misconceptions related to the safety of the pills, negative attitudes toward emergency contraception, or because they did not have the necessary medication or supplies on hand.[8]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • In Barbados, you can find emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) sold at pharmacies. It's technically legally required to obtain a prescription before purchasing emergency contraceptive pills, but many pharmacies informally sell them over-the-counter. Some brands you can expect to see are Optinor, which is available at family planning planning clinics, Postinor-2, which is available at pharmacies, or One Pill, which is also available at pharmacies. All of these pill brands are for Levonorgestrel pills. They are produced by European pharmaceutical companies and imported into Barbados.[9]

Costs[edit]

  • You can expect to pay around $18-25 BBD for one emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill) at pharmacies, as of September 2018. However, you may be able to get it for free or for a reduced cost at certain clinics or social marketing programs.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Barbados, there are no known laws related to HIV status and travel. This means that, if you're a foreigner who is planning to visit Barbados, you will not be asked for a medical certificate or proof of your HIV status upon entry in the country. There is also no evidence that, if you take an HIV test and test positive, that you will be deported or expelled from the country (though we also have no evidence of laws that prohibit such actions). It is legal to import antiretroviral medication for personal use, though one should carry a doctor's note with the medication.[10]

In 2017, it was estimated that about 1.6% of the adult population (ages 15-49) were living with HIV in Barbados. Overall, about 46% of young people (ages 15-24) had knowledge of HIv prevention, and 47% of young women had knowledge of HIV prevention.[11]

Testing Facilities[edit]

Support[edit]

  • National HIV / AIDS Commission - Barbados: "Our mission is to advise the Government of Barbados on plans and policies and to build strategic partnerships to effectively manage, control and reduce the spread of HIV in Barbados. We will also endeavor to mobilize widespread community participation and support their involvement in programmes of this nature." Phone: +1 246-535-1701
  • UNAIDS - Barbados: Contact person - César Antonio Núñez, Director, Regional Support Team for Latin America and the Caribbean. Phone: +5073014600. Email: nunezc@unaids.org

Costs[edit]

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you are interested in obtaining Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in Barbados, you may be able to find it, though information is still scarce and it may not be obtainable. It appears that Gilead’s Truvada (TDF/FTC) is registered and approved for prevention,[12] and the Ministry of Health has recommended PrEP for anyone who is at substantial risk of contracting HIV.[13] However, as of 2017, here's what the National HIV / AIDS Commission - Barbados stated on its Facebook page: "The facilities to have PrEP available to the public are not currently in place. However, in rare individual cases it may be provided. For example, if someone is positive and registered but considering a pregnancy then it may be granted in that case, free of cost."[14]
  • If you are interested in obtaining Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) in Barbados, it is available. Here's what the National HIV / AIDS Commission - Barbados stated on its Facebook page: "PEP is widely available in Barbados. In the cases of sexual assault or occupational injury, it would be provided for free. For other types of sexual exposure you would be asked to pay, but it may be as cheap as $30 depending on what the doctor prescribes."[15]
  • You can find the HPV vaccine in Barbados, where it is available in clinics and hospitals. Barbados has had a national HPV vaccination program since 2014, which targets girls (ages 11-12).[16] [17]
  • You can find yeast infection medication at pharmacies, including oral and cream options.

Costs[edit]

  • For yeast infection medication at pharmacies, you can expect to pay between $10 to $37, depending on the brand and type, as of September 2018.

Menstruation[edit]

Note: In addition to pads and tampons, you can also use menstrual cups and menstrual underwear for your period. To learn more about menstrual cups, click here. To learn more about menstrual underwear, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

The majority of women in Barbados use pads/pantyliners. However, tampons are available in some pharmacies and markets, and you can even find some menstrual cups sold online through specialized providers.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can find pads/pantyliners for sale in pharmacies.
  • You can find tampons for sale in pharmacies, though they are often too expensive for many local women. For example, a [box of tampons from Aqua Pharmacy was being sold online for $15.60 BBD in September 2018.[18]
  • You can find menstrual cups for sale, but they're typically available from small-scale or online distributors. It's generally more difficult to find them in pharmacies or larger markets. For example, you can order from Twistie, a menstrual cup company that serves the Caribbean and USA.

Costs[edit]

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Public and Nonprofit Clinics[edit]

  • Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA): "The BFPA is one of the top providers of sexual and reproductive health services for women in Barbados. From pap smears, contraceptive care, fertility treatment, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and gynecological health. Our clinic team will provide you with confidential care and support, that you can trust." Address: Bay Street, Bridgetown, St. Michael, Barbados. Clinic Phone: 1-246-426-2027. Email: info@bfpaonline.com
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Bridgetown: This is the General Hospital for the southern part of the island. Located in Saint Michael. However, this hospital has received some negative reviews, which can be seen on their Facebook page. From the website: "The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology provides a wide range of obstetrical and gynaecological services to the mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and nieces of our Nation... The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is the only tertiary hospital on the island and functions as a referral centre for other English Speaking Caribbean islands as well as a teaching hospital via the University of the West Indies." Address: Martindales Rd, Bridgetown, Barbados. Call: +1 246-436-6450

Private Hospitals & Clinics[edit]

  • OB/GYN Total Care: "Personalized patient care is what sets OB/GYN Total Care apart. When you visit our location at Windsor Medical Centre you can expect to receive world class care. Expert specialists and caring clinical staff provide you with an exceptional health care experience." Address: Windsor Medical Center, Crnr. Government Hill and Pine Plantation Road, St. Michael, BB11066, Barbados, W.I. Phone: +1 246 622-4070

Costs[edit]

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Barbados, maternity leave of at least 12 weeks is available to women who have been employed for at least 12 months. If illness occurs, a medical practitioner can also recommend an additional 6 weeks of leave on top of the minimum 12 weeks.[19]

The maternal mortality rate was 27 deaths per 100,000 live births, as of 2017.[20]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can refer the section above ("Gynecological Exams") for recommended ob/gyns, clinics. and hospitals.
  • * Bay View Hospital: This private hospital receives good reviews. From the website: "We have extensive experience in dealing with the provision of healthcare for women. Our Obstetrics & Gynaecology department provides a range of programs and services dedicated to women of all ages. Our expert physicians and staff can relate to the changes and challenges that women experience and we are fully equipped to deal with a range of conditions." Address: St. Paul's Ave, St. Michael, Barbados. Phone: (246) 436-5446. Email: info@bayviewhospital.com.bb

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Important Note: There are two main types of abortions: medical (also known as the "abortion pill") and surgical (also known as "in-clinic"). For medical abortions, you take a pill to induce abortion. For surgical abortions, a procedure is performed to induce abortion. For general information about medical and surgical abortions, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Barbados, abortion is legal under many circumstances, but it is not available upon request. It is legally available when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman, when the pregnancy endangers the physical or mental health of the woman, when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, when there is risk of fetal impairment, and for economic or social reasons. For an abortion to be legally performed, it must be authorized by a physician when gestation is 12 weeks or less. It must be authorized by two physicians if the gestation period is between 12 weeks and 20 weeks. It must be authorized by three physicians if the gestation period is over 20 weeks. Furthermore, in all cases, a woman must receive counseling prior to the procedure. The abortion must be performed by a medical practitioner, and if the gestation period is more than 12 weeks, the abortion must be performed in a government hospital. For inquiries regarding abortions in Barbados, a great place to start in the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA). They provide abortion services and post-abortion care in their main clinic.[21]

The current abortion laws can be found in the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which was passed by Congress in 2012. These laws are much more lenient than the colonial-era laws that were previously enforced. Before 2012, abortion was generally illegal in Barbados, and people could be criminally prosecuted for seeking or assisting abortion services. There was a high rate of maternal mortality in Barbados, as many women were dying from unsafe clandestine abortions, and the government wanted to address this problem.[22] Furthermore, there was a strong grassroots movement that lobbied for a change in abortion policy. The passing of the law has been part of a larger trend in Barbados to improve health services for women in the country. In 2017, it was reported that the maternal mortality rate in Barbados had decreased by 53% over a 25-year period.[23]

To read the text of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, click here.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can legally obtain an abortion in Barbados for many reasons, including economic and social reasons, though it is not available upon request. The Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) provides abortion services and post-abortion care in its main clinic.[24]

Costs[edit]

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Suicide Hotline: Helpline 1: (246) 4299999; Email Helpline: SAMARITANSBDOS@YAHOO.COM
  • BPW Safe Haven for Women - Crisis Hotline: 246-435-8222. "The BPW Shelter for Abused Women is an initiative of the BPW Barbados (BPW Barbados). BPW Barbados is a “status-of-women” club focused on empowering women at all levels. The BPW Barbados Club is part of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, represented in 96 countries. General information: 836-5070; Email: bpwbarbadosonline@gmail.com; Mailing address: P.O. Box 381, Bridgetown, Barbados, West Indies.

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

  • Ministry of Health - Barbados: "Mission: To provide comprehensive health services to all Barbadians. The Ministry of Health is the executing agency for the delivery of health care in the public sector and has responsibility for planning, regulation and evaluation across the public, private and NGO sectors. It is headed by a Minister who has overall responsibility for policy-making and political direction. Decision-making is centralized and there are no local authorities."
  • Equaldex Barbados: This website provides information on LGBTQ rights and laws in Barbados. It is important to note that homosexuality is illegal. The laws explicitly states that male homosexual activity is illegal, though it's a bit more ambiguous regarding female homosexuality. While the anti-homosexual laws are rarely enforced, they are important to be aware of. The laws regarding changing gender are ambiguous. There are no laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, however activists would like to change laws surrounding LGBTQ rights and the first pride parade in Barbados was held in 2018.
  • Barbados Council of Women: Lyrias, Christchurch. , Barbados
  • Caribbean Women's (International) Network: Barbados Secretariat: Townhouse #2, Lot B12, Graeme Hall Park, Christ Church, Barbados, Email: cwn@caribsurf.com
  • Centre for Gender and Development Studies: University of the West Indies, P.O. Box 64, Bridgetown, Barbados
  • Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN): Caribbean Secretariat: 11 Gibbons Terrace, Christchurch, Barbados, W.Indies, Tel: (246) 420 4474
  • Institute of Social and Economic Research: University of the West Indies, P.O. Box 64, Bridgetown, Barbados
  • Women and Development Unit (WAND): Consultancy Services, School of Continuing Studies, University of the West Indies, Extra-Mural Department, Pinelands, St. Michael UWI, Barbados
  • WAND (Women and Development Unit): Elaine Hewitt, c/o University of West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, St. Michael, Barbados, tel: +1-809-436-6312, fax 436-3006

References[edit]

  1. Global Oral Contraception Availability
  2. Free the Pill: Where on Earth
  3. CIA World Factbook - Total Fertility Rate
  4. Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015
  5. [Conversations with Bridgetown pharmacists, September 2018]
  6. [Conversations with Bridgetown pharmacists, September 2018]
  7. [Conversations with multiple pharmacists, September 2018]
  8. Half of Providers in Jamaica and Barbados Have Refused to Dispense Emergency Contraception
  9. EC Status and Availability: Barbados
  10. BARBADOS - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  11. UNAIDS - Barbados
  12. PrEPWatch: Barbados
  13. An Introduction to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV Prevention in Barbados
  14. National HIV / AIDS Commission - Barbados, Facebook Page
  15. National HIV / AIDS Commission - Barbados, Facebook Page
  16. Human Papillomavirus and Related Diseases Report
  17. Barbados Government Information Service - HPV Vaccine Safe
  18. Aqua Pharmacy - Tampax Tampons Super 20ct
  19. Employment Rights Act 2012 (ERA)
  20. CIA World Factbook - Maternal Mortality Ratio
  21. IPPF - Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA)
  22. The Abortion is the number one cause of death in Barbados
  23. Why do politicians still force women through unwanted pregnancies?
  24. IPPF - Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA)