Re­mem­ber our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in the fight against HIV

Jamaica Gleaner - - WORLD AIDS DAY 2016 -

THE WORLD has seen sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ments in the fight against HIV in the last 15 years. How­ever, HIV is still a ma­jor health and de­vel­op­men­tal con­cern for the re­gion. Ac­cord­ing to the 2016 UNAIDS Pre­ven­tion Gap Re­port, af­ter years of steady progress, the Caribbean showed an in­crease of nine per cent in new HIV in­fec­tions be­tween 2010 and 2015. There were an es­ti­mated 9,000 new in­fec­tions in the Caribbean in 2015.

To­day, it is es­ti­mated that ap­prox­i­mately 39,000 per­sons liv­ing in Ja­maica are HIV pos­i­tive, with less than half know­ing their sta­tus. It must be noted that the high­est in­crease in HIV in­fec­tions in Ja­maica is from within the 15-24 age group. This is a clear in­di­ca­tion that our youth need our help. They need to be ed­u­cated and guided in mak­ing the right choices and avoid­ing risky sex­ual be­hav­iour.

Al­though HIV and AIDS is still a ma­jor con­cern for Ja­maica, we have come a far way. De­spite the chal­lenges, we have been able to: Re­duce the num­ber of new in­fec­tions among all age groups Re­duce the num­ber of in­fec­tions in chil­dren and child deaths Re­duce preva­lence among sex work­ers Elim­i­nate mother-to-child trans­mis­sion; and

IIEx­pand an­tiretro­vi­ral cov­er­age re­sult­ing in a re­duc­tion of AIDS-re­lated deaths

I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to com­mend the non-gov­ern­men­tal and civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions, as well as our health care providers, on their on­go­ing ef­forts to­wards this cause. We could not have got

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