PANCAP News-in the caribbean
In Caribbean 230,000 HIV+
- Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 13:55
- Published on Thursday, 19 July 2012 13:55
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(Trinidad Express) Nearly a quarter of a million Caribbean citizens are HIV positive, though AIDS-related deaths have declined by almost 50 per cent in ten years, UNAIDS has said.
A full report entitled: “Together we will end AIDS”, precedes the 19th Annual AIDS Conference in Washington DC next week and shares the latest data on new HIV infections, people receiving antiretroviral treatment, AIDS-related deaths and HIV among children.
In an update on HIV/AIDS in the region, UNAids stated in a media release yesterday that AIDS-related deaths have fallen to about 10,000 persons in 2011—nearly half what was seen in 2001, in almost 30 years since the start of the AIDS epidemic.
“This is in large part due to the relatively high antiretroviral treatment coverage of 67 per cent for the Caribbean as a whole. At present 230,000 people are living with HIV in the Caribbean,” UNAIDS stated yesterday.
“The estimated number of persons who were newly infected with the virus last year was 13,000.
“About 1,100 children became infected with HIV in the Caribbean in 2011. The majority of these cases are in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which together comprise 68 percent of the region’s HIV epidemic. In fact, many Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries are close to achieving elimination targets for the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT).”
Overall, adult HIV prevalence for the Caribbean is one per cent and heterosexual transmission remains the main route of HIV infection.
However, there are high rates of infection among key populations.
Prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) ranges from an estimated five per cent in parts of the Dominican Republic to 20 per cent in Trinidad and Tobago, the report said.
Guyana follows at 19 per cent and Jamaica is highest with 32 per cent.
HIV prevalence for female sex workers ranges from 4.8 per cent in the Dominican Republic to 24 per cent in Suriname, five per cent in Haiti and Jamaica to 17 per cent in Guyana.
“We have a lot to show for the work we’ve done,” said Dr Ernest Massiah, Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Caribbean Regional Support Team.
“But we must do far more to reduce HIV among sex workers and men who have sex with men. We also have to be honest about the sexuality of adolescents and young people. We need to ensure that all these groups have not only information, but also access to condoms and sexual health services.”