Guyana to host first meeting of PANCAP-CVC-COIN Technical Advisory Group for the Multi-Country Caribbean Global Fund Grant

Wednesday 15 January 2020 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, will host the first meeting of the PANCAP-CVC-COIN Technical Advisory Group for the Multi-Country Caribbean Global Fund Grant QRA-H-CARICOM 1838 titled “Sustainability of services for Key Populations in the Caribbean,” on 28 January 2020 at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana.

The US$6.5 Million grant commenced on 1 October 2019. The purpose of the grant is to provide sustainable HIV prevention, treatment and care services for key populations in the Caribbean Region including Men who have sex with men (MSM), Sex workers and Transgender people who are direct beneficiaries of the grant which will be shared by ten countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is a regional, multi-sectoral body with a mandate to provide oversight to the PANCAP/CVC/COIN Global Fund Grant. That oversight includes ensuring that the implementation of the grant is focused, efficient and flexible, i.e. the TAG ensures that the execution is focused on the right activities, for the right populations and in the right places, in accordance with the performance framework of the PANCAP/CVC/COIN Global Fund Grant.  The TAG also ensures that there is efficient use of available resources.

According to Director of PANCAP, Dereck Springer, the upcoming meeting will provide TAG members with the opportunity to be oriented to the governance of the TAG, updated on the management of the grant and the implementation of activities including programmatic updates and information on disbursements.  “Members will also elect a Chair and Vice-Chair who will be responsible for ensuring that the TAG fulfils its mandate,” stated the Director, “bold and decisive leadership is needed to ensure that the implementation of the grant adequately addresses the sustainability of services for key populations”.  The Director further underscored that the success of the grant is crucial to the Region’s HIV response as it aligns with PANCAP’s vision of an AIDS-free Caribbean, one in which Caribbean people are empowered to fulfil their potential and live happy, healthy and peaceful lives.


What is PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.

Editor’s Notes

TAG Membership

The TAG consists of representatives from PANCAP including the PANCAP Priority Areas Coordinating Committee (PACC), Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), and El Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN) as grant owners; representatives from key population networks including recognised networks of Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV), Men who have sex with men (MSM), Transgender persons (TRANS), Sex Workers (SW), vulnerable youth and people who use drugs. Technical & implementing partners include the Caribbean Med Labs Foundation (CMLF), University of the West Indies – HIV and AIDS Response Programme (UWI-HARP), Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies Rights Advocacy Project (URAP), Regional Body Representing Faith-Based Organisations; Principal Recipient, CARICOM, representatives of the CCMs of each project country (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago). The TAG also includes Ex-office executives from PANCAP, CVC and COIN and three observers from UN/Multilateral Agencies/International Development Partners including UNAIDS, PEPFAR and UNDP.


Timothy Austin
Senior Project Officer, Communications
PANCAP Coordinating Unit
CARICOM Secretariat
Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409  | Visit

Helpful links:

  • Multi-Country Caribbean Global Fund Grant QRA-H-CARICOM 1838 “Sustainability of services for Key Populations in the Caribbean – project page

  • PANCAP-CVC-COIN awarded Multi-country Caribbean Global Fund Grant

  • Global AIDS Update 2018 – Miles to Go:

Facebook takes down misleading ads about HIV-prevention drug

The Washington Post and other media outlets reported that the social media company began taking down ads for lawsuits against Gilead Sciences regarding the drug Truvada following a widespread outcry from LGBT and HIV groups and health experts.

Facebook is taking down misleading advertisements regarding a drug used to prevent HIV following complaints from several organizations and experts.

The Washington Post and other outlets reported Monday that the social media giant had started to quietly remove the ads, placed by personal injury lawyers for lawsuits alleging that Gilead Sciences’ Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent the spread of HIV, were linked to kidney problems and reduced bone density.

Despite widespread outcry from LGBT organizations, health experts and others, the company had initially declined to remove the ads. PrEP is commonly used among LGBT people and others who are considered at high risk of contracting HIV.

Truvada has been known to cause renal impairment and loss of bone density in some patients – as stated in the drug’s package insert – but the drug’s benefits are widely regarded as outweighing the risks. Indeed, Gilead won Food and Drug Administration for a newer drug, Descovy (emtricitabine, tenofovir alafenamide) for PrEP in October, based on that drug’s lower incidence of kidney and bone problems, but some interviewed experts said they would still use Truvada in many patients anyway because the older drug is well-tolerated. Truvada is also expected to become available as a generic later this year.

An analysis of the ads’ claims published in July concluded that they were misleading because they lacked context, suggesting that the risks of kidney damage and loss of bone density were the same for those taking Truvada as a preventive treatment as they were for patients taking it to treat existing HIV infection.

Dozens of LGBT and HIV advocacy groups signed on to a Dec. 9 open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to remove the ads from Facebook and Instagram as they risk scaring HIV-negative people from using Truvada to prevent infection.

“By allowing these advertisements to persist on their platforms, Facebook and Instagram are convincing at-risk individuals to avoid PrEP, invariably leading to avoidable HIV infections,” the letter read. “You are harming public health.”

The ads are but one example of how Facebook has often served as fertile ground for misleading and potentially dangerous health claims. In November, a study by researchers at George Washington University and the University of Maryland and published in the journal Vaccine found that of 500 vaccine-related ads examined, 54% were opposed to vaccination, and only two organizations – the World Mercury Project and Stop Mandatory Vaccination – were responsible for all of them. And in 2018, Facebook deleted dozens of pages related to alternative medicine, some of which had as many 3.6 million followers.

Remembering the leadership of Charlot Jeudy

Charlot Jeudy, the President of Haiti’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community organization Kouraj, was found dead at his home in November 2019. Investigations into the circumstances of his death are ongoing. The Region remembers Mr Jeudy as a fearless campaigner for human rights.

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2010, the people of Haiti worked to overcome the loss of homes, businesses, public services and more than 100 000 lives. But amid the shared trauma and determination, a harmful narrative emerged.

Some people began to blame the masisi—a derogatory Haitian Creole term for gay men. They thought that the disaster was a divine punishment for the sins of the LGBT community. Members of sexual and gender minorities found themselves subject to intensified exclusion and abuse. Human rights organizations documented cases of LGBT people being denied access to emergency housing, food, health care and work. There were also reports of physical assaults and homophobic rape.

Rather than accept the situation, Charlot Jeudy decided to act. He created Kouraj, which means courage in Haitian Creole. In the struggle for equal rights, Kouraj emphasized the importance of community empowerment and aimed to inspire pride and confidence among LGBT people.

“We wish to put forward an alternative discourse on homosexuality in Haiti because for too long only homophobes have discussed our reality and proposed their own interpretation,” Mr Jeudy said in 2011.

Over the next eight years, Kouraj evolved to offer community training, legal and psychosocial services and sexual health education. It became one of Haiti’s leading advocates for ending discrimination against LGBT people and has played a key role in resisting the introduction of discriminatory laws.

The organization was aptly named. Its members have contended with verbal abuse and death threats. Three years ago, it had to cancel a festival to celebrate the Afro-Caribbean LGBT community after numerous threats of violence. According to friends, Mr Jeudy resisted their pleas to leave the country at the time. In response to a spike in reports of anti-LGBT street violence last year, he worked with the United Nations on a project to promote tolerance and equal rights.

John Waters, Programme Manager of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, paid tribute to Mr Jeudy’s leadership.

“I have watched Charlot Jeudy grow from a young, impatient and impassioned activist into a thoughtful, strategic leader, capable of using human rights not as a sword, but as a shield,” said Mr Waters. “He won over the hearts and minds of others to create allies. Mr Jeudy has left a huge gap in human rights work in the Caribbean. He raised the bar for those who must now follow in his footsteps.”

Mr Jeudy was also an active civil society representative on the body that oversees the management of Haiti’s response to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

“Under Charlot Jeudy’s leadership, Kouraj was a model partner,” said Fritz Moise, Executive Director of the Foundation for Reproductive Health and Family Education. “His death is a big loss for the response to HIV in Haiti.”

“Charlot Jeudy exemplified the power of communities to be the voice for the voiceless and to make meaningful change in people’s lives,” said UNAIDS Country Director for Haiti, Mame Awa Faye. “This World AIDS Day we celebrated the power of communities to make a difference. Mr Jeudy did just that.”

PANCAP extends condolences to the family and colleagues of Charlot Jeudy.

Countries must reduce barriers to access and increase financing in primary care to ensure Universal Health in the Americas

Washington D.C. 12 December 2019 (PAHO/WHO) – Universal Health in the Americas can only be achieved if countries reduce the barriers to access and increase investment in primary care. On Thursday 12 December, during the celebration of this year’s Universal Health Day, PAHO called on countries to implement these measures to ensure that all people have access to the health services they need.

The theme of Universal Health Day 2019, “Universal health; for everyone, everywhere”, follows on from the launch of the regional Compact 30.30.30: Primary Health Care for Universal Health, which took place in Mexico City in April with the Director of PAHO, Carissa F. Etienne, and the President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador.

“Primary Health Care is people-centred and community-focused. It addresses the needs of people in their communities and requires investments in integrated health networks to address the complex and comprehensive needs of people, including health promotion and disease prevention,” said Dr Etienne. Primary Health Care is the strategic approach that will support this Region in achieving Universal Health,” she added

The Compact 30.30.30 is PAHO’s immediate response to the recommendations of the High-level Commission “Universal Health in the 21st Century: 40 years of Alma-Ata”. It calls for countries to reduce the barriers that hinder access to health by at least 30% and to allocate at least 30% of public financing for health to the first level of care by 2030.

Primary health care and Universal health

Universal Health is not just about ensuring that everyone is covered by a health care plan, but that this coverage translates into access to comprehensive, quality health services that are focused on the needs of people without exposing them to financial difficulties. Universal Health also requires the implementation of social policies and interventions to address the social determinants of health.

As primary health care services are closer to individuals and communities, they are able to meet the vast majority of a population’s health care needs throughout their lives, from promotion, prevention and treatment to rehabilitation and palliative care. Ensuring greater investment in primary care can, therefore, help prevent between 20-40% of hospitalizations while resulting in significant financial savings for countries. Quality primary health care services lead to better health outcomes and longer life expectancy.

Universal Health Day 2019

Universal Health Day is celebrated each year on December 12 to commemorate the anniversary of the first United Nations resolution that calls on all countries to provide affordable, quality health care.

Events were held throughout the Region of the Americas to mark the day, including one at PAHO’s Headquarters in Washington D.C.

PAHO’s event, “Universal Health Day 2019 – Universal Health: Everyone, Everywhere” Compact on Primary Health Care for Universal Health 2030” brought together representatives from ministries of health in the Americas, civil society, academia, as well as PAHO experts, to discuss ways in which countries can ensure that the goals outlined in the 30.30.30 Compact can be achieved.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Finance of Paraguay, Benigno María López Benítez highlighted that all populations have the right to live a healthy life and underscored the role of finance in ensuring this.

“The government has a clear roadmap for strengthening human capital by transforming health and education. Only through this will we ensure a more productive economy and improve health and wellness,” he said, outlining a tax reform that was approved in 2019 to direct more financing towards health and education.

Minister López also emphasized that “a multidimensional approach to addressing health is essential – as important as preventing diseases instead of just treating them.”

For Roopa Dhatt, Executive Director and Co-founder of Women in Global Health now is a “historic and monumental time for health.” She highlighted that the high-level political declaration on universal health care (UHC) has the potential to transform the health and lives of millions of people, the majority of whom are women. Dhatt also emphasized the need to commit to gender equality and women’s rights, as a fundamental principle of UHC.

The event included an award ceremony for the 2019 Social Innovation in Health Initiative. This initiative, which is led by the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and co-sponsored by UNDP, UNICEF and the World Bank, aims to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage by harnessing innovative research, capacity building and advocacy.

This year’s winners include a project to identify infants exposed to the Zika virus in Colombia, a project to improve maternal health in rural communities of the Peruvian Amazon, and a project to improve nutrition in rural Colombian communities.

PANCAP fully endorses PrEP

The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) fully endorses the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation that Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) be offered to all population groups at substantial risk of becoming infected with HIV in order to prevent the acquisition of HIV.

The WHO defines oral Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) of HIV infection as the use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs by people who do not have HIV infection in order to prevent the acquisition of HIV.  PrEP is considered a key prevention modality and should be an additional prevention choice in a comprehensive package of services that also includes HIV testing, screening and management of sexually transmitted infections, counselling, male and female condoms, lubricants, ARV treatment for partners with HIV infection, voluntary medical male circumcision and harm reduction interventions for people who use drugs.

PANCAP has defined as a key strategy within Strategic Priority Area 4 of the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS (CRSF) 2019-2025,  “Implement targeted policies and strategies to deliver high impact interventions such as PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis), PrEP, HIV self-testing, index testing, STI and viral hepatitis prevention and diagnosis within a HIV combination prevention approach.” This Framework was endorsed by Ministers of Health at the 37th Meeting of the Council of Human and Social Development (COHSOD) – Health, which was held on 27-28 September 2019 in Washington, D.C., USA. COHSOD encouraged member states to align their National Strategic Plans to this framework and support its implementation.

In the English-speaking Caribbean, The Bahamas and Barbados have developed and implemented PrEP programmes. In both cases, this was done in close collaboration with civil society organisations and in the case of The Bahamas, with the private health sector. Both countries have at least 18 months of implementation experience and have been sharing lessons learned that are beneficial and can potentially be applied in other Caribbean countries. In August 2019 the Ministry of Public Health Guyana trained health care professionals within the private sector to implement PrEP, following which implementation began through a Private Sector – Civil Society Partnership. Other countries in the Caribbean are poised to implement PrEP following the PANCAP PrEP Share Fair which was held in Barbados in August 2019 at which participating countries developed action plans for rolling out this initiative.

On the 14 February 2001, Heads of Government through a Declaration of Commitment launched PANCAP and called on all Heads and all partners to make a solemn commitment towards ensuring that good public policies are adopted across all sectors to create a supportive environment for prevention of HIV transmission and for mitigating the impact of the epidemic. Cognisant of the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV transmission within an HIV combination prevention approach, PANCAP urges member states to implement PrEP.

– ENDS –

What is PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.

Guyana’s First Lady and PANCAP Champion Sandra Granger launches Foundation dedicated to empowerment of vulnerable groups

Thursday, 12 December 2019 (ANIRA Foundation, Georgetown Guyana): The ANIRA Foundation Inc., a not-for-profit organisation focused on the education and empowerment of vulnerable groups, will increase efforts to advocate for the health and well-being of Guyanese youth, particularly young women through strategic initiatives focused on adolescent health and rights and building the intellectual capacity of young Guyanese.

While the Foundation was officially launched on Thursday 12 December 2019, it has successfully implemented projects aimed at the empowerment of young women and the education of youth since 2017.

Founded by H. E. Sandra Granger, First Lady of Guyana and Co-Chair, Spouses of the CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN), the Foundation has embarked on a project, “Pilots of the Caribbean” with the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Social Protection to reduce the amount of teenage pregnancies among vulnerable girls (in and out of school youth), decrease the rates of HIV and Syphilis among sexually active youth, immunize vulnerable girls against HPV and increase the amount of post-pregnant teens who complete school or vocational skills programmes.  The project also aims to create awareness of gender-based violence and its effect on vulnerable women’s exposure to HIV.  The project is under the umbrella of the Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN) and is supported by the Gilead Foundation at a cost of USD$ 251, 000.00.

The Foundation will also seek to foster a passion for Science, Technology and Mathematics with the distribution of “Robot Kits” to school-aged youth in communities across Guyana including Hinterland Regions through a collaboration with STEMGuyana.

Ms Granger is passionate about safeguarding the health and wellbeing of vulnerable women and the empowerment of youth which inspired her to create the Foundation.

“Beyond providing access to health services and education, ANIRA aims to place the power of securing good health and the ability to earn an income into the hands of vulnerable groups,” stated Ms Granger, “it is not enough to provide access to health and skills training, ANIRA will ensure young girls and youth have the requisite skills and knowledge to safeguard their sexual and reproductive health and to secure employment”.

With the expert skills and experience of a 14-member board of directors and a project implementation team, the Foundation will serve to fulfil Ms Granger’s vision of self-sufficient Guyanese youth and empowered young women.  The Foundation’s work is external to Ms Granger’s responsibilities as First Lady and will serve to achieve her goal of a better life for Guyanese youth.

“ANIRA goes beyond my work as First Lady to fulfil my lifelong dream of a Guyana where our young people have the knowledge to make healthy choices and can utilise their innate talents and skills to provide for their families,” stated Ms Granger, “The Foundation exists to secure the future of Guyana’s youth by placing the power of knowledge into the hands of vulnerable groups”.

– ENDS –

What is the ANIRA Foundation?

The ANIRA Foundation is a not-for-profit company registered in Guyana dedicated to the education and empowerment of vulnerable groups.  The Foundation is chaired by H. E. Sandra Granger, First Lady of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and Vice-chair of the Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN).

Helpful links:

 The ANIRA Foundation


 Global AIDS Update 2018

WHO recommendations on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights (2018)

Editor’s Notes

Background to “Pilots of the Caribbean”

The project will encompass HIV and Syphilis testing, treatment and prevention with social interventions to keep young girls in school.  It will also seek to foster economic development, end gender-based violence and link men and boys to health services.  The rapid diagnostic test kits, which will be utilized for testing, will be provided by the Ministry of Public Health and the Foundation.

The project will target 500 adolescents (100 males and 400 females) between the ages of 12 and 24.  Phase 1 will target the Sophia community, while Phases II and III will focus on vulnerable, mainly indigenous communities in Moruca, Region 1 (Barima-Waini) and Lethem, Region 9.  The Foundation will align the sensitisation and knowledge sharing with the educational needs and requirements of each community.

HIV Prevention Pill Launched Through Private Sector – Civil Society Partnership

A new private clinic and a 16-year old local NGO have teamed up to make HIV prevention medication more available. Today, Midway Speciality Care Centre Guyana (MSCCG) and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD Guyana) signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a media launch of the clinical services to formalize their partnership in preventing new HIV infections in Guyana.

Midway Speciality Care Centre Guyana (MSCCG) is a not-for-profit clinic that is established to provide non-communicable and infectious disease care. Dr Moti Ramgopal MD, FACP, FIDSA, founded Midway Speciality Care Centre, which treats 6,000 patients in eight clinics in the United States of America. These clinics have provided a wide range of speciality and primary care services for patients. SASOD Guyana is a well-known human rights organisation that has been at the forefront of the HIV response in Guyana.

SASOD Guyana has been a long-time advocate for the introduction of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Services (PrEP) for all persons who are at risk. Midway Speciality Care Centres have acquired tremendous expertise in providing Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in the United States. After a series of intense deliberations between MSCCG and SASOD Guyana,  have agreed to introduce PrEP and non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP) services at a weekday, full-service clinic located at 100 Carmichael Street (opposite Woodlands Hospital) and a satellite community clinic every Saturday at the SASOD Guyana office at 203 Duncan Street in Lamaha Gardens. The two agencies are convinced that with the introduction of these services that it would prevent those that are “substantial risk” from acquiring the HIV infection.

MSCCG and SASOD Guyana are providing PrEP and nPEP as part of combination prevention which includes condoms and lubes, STI screening and management, HIV testing and counselling, risk reduction management and harm reduction. The partners are also providing comprehensive support, consisting of adherence counselling, mental and emotional support, and sexual and reproductive health services. These services will be available to the from next week Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm,  starting on December 9. SASOD Guyana’s  Saturday clinic will commence on January 4, 2020. To make an appointment, interested persons can contact MSCCG by phone on 502-1951 or by email at SASOD Guyana can also be contacted by phone on 225-7283, 623-5155 or by email at MSCCG’s Medical Doctor, Dr Ruth Ramos, and SASOD Guyana’s Managing Director signed the  Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of the media with MSCCG’s Nurse Lois Barrow witnessing the inking of the private sector – civil society agreement.

Media Contact
Joel Simpson
Managing Director
SASOD Guyana
Phone: 225-7283 or 623-5155

World AIDS Day 2019: PANCAP Director pays tribute to the stellar contributions of Communities

This year’s World AIDS Day theme is “Communities make the difference”. According to UNAIDS, the observance of World AIDS Day is an important opportunity for stakeholders to recognize the essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels.

I believe that this theme shines a spotlight on the phenomenal work that is being done by communities. It allows us to pay tribute to the passion, advocacy, resourcefulness and relevance of communities and to honour and celebrate their stellar contributions to the HIV response. Communities include peer educators, networks of People living with or affected by HIV, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs,  sex workers, women and young people, counsellors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations and grass-roots activists. Since 1993 I have witnessed firsthand how communities have come together to do extraordinary things in their response to the needs of our brothers and sisters who were and continue to be challenged as People living with or affected by HIV.

As someone whose response was grounded at the grassroots level, I have seen communities give birth to groups and organisations to respond to HIV and the needs of key populations, speak up, inspire, and embrace our common humanity. I have seen communities stand alone against the self-righteous groups that see communities of men who have sex with men and transgender persons as a threat to the status quo and their authority over our so-called ‘” ordered societies”’. Communities have been an easy target for vilification and ridicule.

Communities have stood against the oppressors that seek to relegate them to second class citizenship. Communities have responded with compassion, enthusiasm, courage and practical solutions to effect positive change and to transform their lives.

It is the overwhelming response of communities that set us on this journey of resilience and has now given us hope that we can end AIDS. It is the advocacy and bold leadership of communities that forced the world to mount an unprecedented response to a public health threat such as we have never seen before. I am reminded of the words of Dr Jonathan Mann on the Tenth Anniversary of AIDS in August 1994. Quote – “We witnessed the birth of an authentic impulse of solidarity, our credo was tolerance; the scope and span of our communication were breathtaking. We helped open a new era in history and as we stormed the gates of the status quo, we knew we would prevail. Just as we learn about life by living, so we have learned about HIV and AIDS through real experience, hard work, joy and pain. There is nothing peripheral or superficial about what we have done. People around the world, facing specific immediate problems with prevention and care, or struggling against exclusion and discrimination, responded with creativity and courage which has no historical precedent, and which the world had no right to expect”. End of quote.

Communities were deeply affected and instead of crumbling in the midst of winter they rose up and found within themselves an invincible summer. It is their advocacy that saw the establishment of PANCAP, the first United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS and global financing institutions such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It is communities that have strategically engaged with international development partners to ensure responsible transition and sustainability.

We must recognize communities as a coveted asset to the HIV response.  We must see communities as the glue that holds us together. We must see communities as the backbone of the HIV response. Communities can bring evidence of what is happening in their respective groups to inform advocacy.  We must see communities as worthy of investment. Therefore, as donor resources diminish, our governments and private sector must continue to invest in communities. When we invest in communities we are investing in our and our children’s future. We are investing in the vehicle to ending AIDS since communities are better placed to reach individuals that are underserved and who experience structural barriers, including stigma and discrimination, to access to prevention, treatment, care and support services. When we invest in communities, we are ensuring that we leave no one behind. Therefore, let us all commit to investing in communities for ending AIDS.

Director’s Message – November 2019

As this is the last newsletter for 2019, I would like to reflect on our achievements in 2019 and highlight key remaining challenges. We had set ourselves an ambitious agenda for 2019 with a heavy focus on improving coordination and governance and supporting county efforts to implement innovative approaches for prevention, care and treatment.


Following extensive consultations and dialogue, we have successfully elaborated the fourth iteration of the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS 2019-2025 and a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework with indicators and targets, and a two-year implementation plan. The CRSF 2019-2025 provides high-level guidance to ensure that resources are directed towards effective interventions that maximize the impact of regional efforts and provide good value for money and to respond to the remaining gaps in the response.

The capacity of National AIDS Programme Managers and Civil Society Partners has been increased to deliver a more effective response through the annual meeting of NAP Managers and Key Partners, Share Fairs, learning exchanges, series of webinars, documentation and sharing of information.

We successfully implemented the CARICOM-PANCAP Global Fund grant 2016-2019, PEPFAR-USAID Coordination and Knowledge Management programme activities 2018-2019, and the PANCAP component of the 10th EDF grant.

We mobilised additional resources from the Global Fund for a Joint CARICOM/PANCAP-CVC-COIN Caribbean Multi-country grant and leveraged additional resources from PEPFAR-USAID by directing funding for the knowledge management programme to CARICOM thus increasing efficiencies obtained from savings on management fees to several conduits. These efficiencies are being applied to fill gaps in knowledge management.

The PANCAP Coordinating Unit (PCU) has strengthened collaboration with departments of the CARICOM Secretariat to advance the implementation of the CRSF.

The PCU, with support from the CARICOM Secretariat and Johns Hopkins University, facilitated its staff development in the area of project management and knowledge management to increase the PANCAP Secretariat capacity to fulfil its mandate.

The PCU facilitated CRN+’s organisational review and strategic planning for sustainability and improved governance and accountability.

We have increased opportunities for high-level youth advocacy for adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education.


While we applaud Guyana for achieving the first 90 Target, Cuba, Haiti and Suriname for achieving the second 90 Target and Barbados and Suriname for achieving the Third 90 Target, the UNAIDS Global AIDS Monitoring Report 2018 reminded us that the region is not on track to achieving the 90-90-90 Targets by 2020. It also reminded us of the critical need for bold political and technical leadership to dismantle human rights barriers to health. These barriers present a challenge to finding, testing and retaining key populations in treatment and care and to achieving viral suppression.

While we have made some progress in building national capacity to accurately report on the CRSF and other indicators, significant gaps in capacity persist at the national and regional level. Significant gaps in laboratory quality and human resources and access to lab services also remain.

As the Partnership prepares to welcome a new Director in 2020, it is critical that we continue to strengthen existing and forge new partnerships to leverage both technical and human resources for sustaining the response at the national and regional level.

Following the successful Global Fund Sixth Replenishment that raised US14 Billion for the next three years, we anticipate additional funding for eligible countries and for another multi-country Caribbean grant, However, we must temper our expectations and be prepared to receive reduced allocations.  We await PEPFAR’s Regional Operational Planning schedule for the first quarter in 2020 to determine what resources will be available. However, we must be mindful that donors are reluctant to continue to invest resources in countries and regions that fail to address structural barriers to key populations access to prevention, treatment, care and support services, particularly when they continue to see no significant decline in mortality and reduction in new infections despite investments for over a decade.


I wish to thank the staff of the PCU for their unwavering commitment and significant investment of time that enabled the PCU to serve the Partnership efficiently.

Special thank you to all partners for their assistance, support, collaboration and continued confidence in the Partnership.

I extend my sincere gratitude to Chancellor Edward Greene for his guidance and support to me and his invaluable contribution to the Partnership.

On behalf of the PCU, I wish all partners a Merry Christmas and a very successful 2020.

CRN+ Chair awarded the 2019 High Individual Value Award

Mr Tyrone Ellis, Chair of the Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (CRN+), was recently awarded by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Jamaica for being of “High Individual Value” in the response to HIV and AIDS in Jamaica.

The award was presented to Tyrone by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in November 2019 for his outstanding contribution to Jamaica’s national HIV response. PANCAP congratulates Tyrone on this significant achievement.

The Chair recently spoke with the Editor of the PANCAP Newsletter on new plans for CRN+. “As Chairman of CRN+, my vision is to work towards providing support and advocacy services for People Living with and affected by HIV in the Caribbean Community,” stated the Chair.  He also plans to enhance the promotion of broader sexual health objectives through education, training and health promotion.

Tyrone further stated that he intends to increase public awareness and understanding around HIV and AIDS and to reduce stigma and discrimination, which will improve the quality of life for People Living with HIV.