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Innovative ways to address gaps identified in UNAIDS 2018 GAM Report for discussion at Seventh Meeting of National AIDS Programme Managers and Key PartnersParticipants to focus on strengthening regional HIV response

March 1, 2019

Friday, 1 March 2019 (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 Seventh Meeting of National AIDS Programme (NAP) Managers and Key Partners in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago from 11 – 13 March 2019.  Participants will include over 130 National AIDS Programme (NAP) Managers, Chief Medical Officers, Permanent Secretaries, Development and Regional Partners, Implementing Partners such as civil society organizations that work with people living with HIV and key population groups (including youth).

The meeting is being hosted 22 months ahead of the end of 2020 deadline for reaching the UNAIDS 90–90–90 Targets —90% of people living with HIV diagnosed, 90% of diagnosed people on treatment and 90% of those on treatment virally suppressed.

The purpose of the meeting is to update programme managers and all stakeholders involved in the HIV response on national and regional commitments, progress on current global strategies, identify innovative ways to address gaps identified in the UNAIDS 2018 Global AIDS Monitoring (GAM) Report and to strengthen the Caribbean regional HIV response. The Meeting will facilitate information and best practice sharing; peer learning and technical cooperation among countries to strengthen ownership; improve harmonisation and sustainability of the Region’s HIV response.

Critical issues highlighted by the GAM report, which will form the basis of discussion, include the fact that there is an estimated 310,000 people living with HIV in the Caribbean at the end of 2017.  The gap to achieving the First 90 of the 90-90-90 Targets in 2017 was 54,800 people living with HIV who do not know their status.  The gap to achieving the Second 90 in 2017 is 74, 400 people living with HIV who are not on treatment.  The gap to achieving the Third 90 in 2017 was attaining viral suppression of an additional 103,000 people living with HIV.

Participants will be engaged in discussions on strategies for addressing these gaps as well as exploring what sustainability means for individual countries in the context of their existing economic realities and creating a roadmap for integration as a key strategy for sustainability.

Stakeholders will also receive updates on the achievements and synergies of the PANCAP, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC-COIN) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Global Fund grants and the transfer of regional public goods developed under these grants.  Development and regional partners will also provide updates on programmes and activities that are contributing to the achievements of the goals and targets of the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV (CRSF).

Ms Aldora Robinson, National AIDS Programme Coordinator, Turks and Caicos Islands and the National AIDS Programme Managers Representative on the PANCAP Governance Bodies, believes that the meeting could be a “game changer” at this critical point in the region’s HIV response.  “In an environment of reduced international funding for HIV, calls for country ownership, and the global vision of an AIDS-Free Generation, NAP Managers and CSOs must work together to establish innovative ways to address the gaps in the response as highlighted in the GAM report,” stated Robinson.

She further highlighted that the critical issues for discussion include increasing access to HIV and STI testing for key populations, including transgender and youth, and scaling-up Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) testing within the HIV combination prevention approach.  Countries will also commit to implementing innovative strategies for reaching, testing and retaining persons on treatment and for preventing HIV among key populations and reporting on progress.

The meeting is expected to culminate with an agreement by all stakeholders on strategies for addressing gaps in achieving the 90-90-90 Targets, a critical element of PANCAP’s vision for an AIDS-free Caribbean.

                                                                                                                        – ENDS –

Helpful links:

Seventh Meeting of the National AIDS Programme Managers and Key Partners Event web page

Global AIDS Update 2018 – Miles to Go

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

What are the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Targets?

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Background to the National AIDS Programme Managers and Key Partners Meeting

The Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework (CRSF) 2014-2018 articulates the vision and collective priorities of Caribbean states through their membership in the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP). The core premise is that stemming the HIV epidemic in the Caribbean rests on the commitment, capacity and leadership of national authorities and effective response. The primary goal of regional collaborative efforts is to support country responses by addressing common challenges in the areas of evidence-based policy formulation, and innovative responses  to  addressing legislative gaps, resource mobilisation, coordination and technical assistance., An effective regional response, guided by the CRSF 2014-2018, therefore  requires that the links and interfaces between country programmes  and regional support programmes be defined and agreed to by country partners. This is critical for strengthening country ownership of the PANCAP response and a shared responsibility to strategically align efforts to end HIV as a public health problem in the Caribbean.

The NAP (National AIDS Program) Managers and Key Partners Meeting provides an opportunity for joint decision-making in setting programmatic priorities and identifying partner contributions in order to strategically align efforts in the fight against HIV. The Meeting Agenda is intended to allow for in-depth analysis and discussion on the relevant aspects of the UN Post 2015 Agenda, and the overall advancements of the Caribbean Region in implementing new initiatives for HIV. It is within this context that opportunities and challenges for the Region and individual countries to expand the national responses will be discussed. PANCAP acknowledges the need for greater attention to intercountry linkages and greater collaboration with regional partners. This will serve to maximise synergies and provide a mechanism for making regional public goods available to national programmes to enhance their delivery and impact.