Key takeaways from the UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2020 launch
- The Caribbean lags behind global averages for testing and viral suppression. To close the gaps the region must expand proven methods of active case-finding, linkage to care and retention in care, including through community-based programmes.
- Year after year the data tell the story of men’s inadequate access to HIV services. It is time for a comprehensive strategy to meet men where they are, increase demand and adapt service delivery to meet their needs.
- HIV resource availability from domestic sources increased by 38% from 2010 to 2019. It is critical that Caribbean governments guard these investments, even during COVID19.
- HIV response gains were guided by evidence. National authorities should make regional COVID-19 data-sharing a priority to facilitate analysis and inform decision-making at the level of CARICOM.
- Health authorities must avoid crises among people living with HIV and non-communicable diseases. Continuous monitoring and re-evaluation of considerations for vulnerable populations at risk to COVID-19 are critical.
- Ending AIDS requires a coordinated multisectoral regional response as articulated in the 2019 – 2025 Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework (CRSF). The CRSF is our blueprint towards ending AIDS and it highlights policies and programmes to accelerate progress for achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Targets to test, treat and defeat AIDS.
- Addressing the needs of Key Populations is critically important. Access to care in most of our countries is hindered by several factors including criminalisation of same-sex relationships, hostile communities, homophobic discrimination and violence, external and internal stigma, and limited health education.
- Strategic information gaps must be closed for the region to truly understand and respond to its epidemics. Governments must increase investments in data collection and analysis and forge collaboration with civil society to achieve this.
- In the context of COVID-19 community organizations must continue to increase collaboration with national and regional partners to understand the challenges and advocate for beneficiaries across the Caribbean.
- During COVID-19 women and girls face a higher risk of contracting HIV
due to the extended confinement measures as well as economic and social stresses. Decisive action is needed to address the risk of gender-based violence and sexual abuse.
One in three new HIV Infections in the Caribbean last year was among young people ages 15 – 24. Evidence-based strategies to increase youth access to education and sexual and reproductive health services are critical.