Message from the Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on the occasion of World AIDS Day 2017
The Caribbean Community joins the rest of the world in observing World AIDS Day 2017.
Through its specialised agency, the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the Community has been directly engaged with issues relating to this disease since 2001. The importance of a healthy population was underscored by our Heads of Government when in the Nassau Declaration of that same year, they asserted that the “Health of the Region is the Wealth of the Region”. In preserving that wealth, we must be prepared to engage with any threat that diminishes it.
In that regard, the Region has made significant strides in its efforts to reduce the incidence of HIV and AIDS. For example today six new countries will be certified as having achieved the target for elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Saint Kitts and Nevis. That is just the latest evidence that the goals are attainable particularly with the requisite support from our international partners.
Unfortunately, the Caribbean remains one of the most affected regions with serious concern about the increasing prevalence among our youth. It is crucial, therefore for us to maintain and increase our efforts if we are to reverse that trend and preserve the gains that we have made.
The on-going collaboration between PANCAP and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is a key element as we seek to fulfil the goal of expanding access to quality treatment, care and support of people living with HIV and Aids.
To make this year’s observance of World Aids Day meaningful, let us commit ourselves today to the vision of an AIDS-Free Caribbean.