HIV infections on the rise again

After a decade of decline, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Barbados and the Caribbean is on the rise again, according to a top regional health official.

Quoting from the 2016 UNAIDS report, the United Nations Special Envoy on HIV to the Caribbean Dr Edward Greene, in a recent sobering revelation, reported that the region had seen a nine per cent increase in new infections, placing it second only to Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

A large percentage of the increases occurred in Cuba and Jamaica, the UN official told an awards ceremony of the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

 “The alarm is mainly due to the fact that progress in stopping the new infections has stalled among adults and increasing among older age groups in some countries,”
Dr Greene said.

He said the rates varied from a high of 1.8 per cent of persons living with HIV in Haiti, and 1.6 per cent in Jamaica, to under one per cent in Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

Cuba, he said, had the highest coverage with 67 per cent, while Jamaica was at the lowest end with 32 per cent.

 Dr Greene said an estimated two out of every five people in the region do not know their HIV status, and less than 50 per cent of people living with the virus receive treatment.

Despite those concerns he said there have been several successes over the years, including reducing the number of people living with HIV from 450,000 in 2005 to 285,000 in 2015.

 Dr Greene also pointed to a 40-60 per cent reduction in HIV/AIDS-related deaths, and an increase in the number of HIV patients receiving treatment from under ten per cent to almost 50 per cent.

However he listed several other factors that could erode the gains made so far in the Caribbean.

 “Complacency, for whatever reason, reduced donor funding for treatment, or fall off in government support, including stock outs of drugs, or lack of adherence to treatment by individuals can lead to serious reversals of the gains already made, with implications for our economies,” he warned.

 He told the audience that until an HIV vaccine is discovered there is need to sustain a life cycle approach to ending the AIDS epidemic, making reference to a UN programme targeting young people: Start Free, Stay Free and Remain AIDS Free.

 “On the 20th HIV World Vaccination Day last week, UNAIDS called for continued research to find a vaccine for AIDS. This would be the key to reaching populations most affected. According to the UNAIDS release, new infections remain stubbornly high. Every year for the past ten years, 1.9 million adults and 150,000 children become infected with the virus. Even if 90% reduction is achieved by 2030 there will still be around 200,000 new infections annually,” Dr Greene said.

 Another area that needed to be addressed, he stated, was sustainable funding for HIV/AIDS prevention programmes. The Caribbean is concerned that concessional funding to the region is being reduced, due to the middle income status of most countries.

However, Dr Green stressed that there was need for “a vigorous political discussion” on how to make funding for HIV sustainable and predictable. According to him, attention must be paid to integrated health priorities identified in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

 The health official tabled a recommendation from University of the West Indies professor Karl Theodore for a US$1 tax on airline tickets to go toward a health equity fund as a means of closing the HIV/AIDS funding gap for the Caribbean.

“Funding alternatives must be found to deal with the increasing cost of treatment especially due to the fact that persons living with HIV are living longer and must move to more expensive second and third line treatment,” he cautioned.

He added that by 2020, almost all Caribbean countries, with the exception of Haiti and Jamaica , as well as the South American country of Brazil, would transition from funding by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and subsequently from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

 Dr Greene recommended three solutions to this dilemma: innovations in regional health systems; investment in prevention programmes; and placing emphasis on the vulnerable key groups of women, girls and youth

16 Responses to HIV infections on the rise again

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall June 3, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Some human beings continue to live dirty

    Reply
  2. Divine Duchess
    Divine Duchess June 3, 2017 at 10:40 am

    It’ll rise because people are reckless and wouldnt invest $5 in condoms but would buy $400 jordans or $500 remy to impress the very carrier of the disease smh. Humans have a knack for doing things they shouldnt do and then make some of the most idiotic excuses to justify their actions stupse. This was being preached from inception…yet they wanna be wild and slick uugghhh…humans…they make me sick to my stomach!

    Reply
  3. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall June 3, 2017 at 10:42 am

    People need to change they life style men want 7 women at the same time.

    Reply
  4. Gail Willz
    Gail Willz June 3, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Not good

    Reply
  5. Sonia Lynch
    Sonia Lynch June 3, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Rat boxcy look out

    Reply
  6. Doreen Waithe
    Doreen Waithe June 3, 2017 at 11:33 am

    O dear

    Reply
  7. Janette Reifer
    Janette Reifer June 3, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I would have to sit on a germ

    Reply
  8. Ricquel Welch
    Ricquel Welch June 3, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Sheldine Dyall as a woman i wont only blame d men some women like nuff men 2 and at my young age i does hear people saying condoms for cowards and to Divine Duchess if $5 is too much the clinics and family planning does give them for free but people have their own agenda. Its just sad that the infection is climbing again it shows what is most important in some person life.

    Reply
    • Sheldine Dyall
      Sheldine Dyall June 3, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      Ricquel Welch a woman might have 2 or 3 men , but the men want 6 or 7 women to feel macho.

      Reply
    • Ricquel Welch
      Ricquel Welch June 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Yes your point is true to some extent but i wont have made the comment generally cause everybody aint d same. Both men and women does do their share of madness when you look at it.

      Reply
    • Divine Duchess
      Divine Duchess June 3, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Correct is right and the fact that they can be obtained freely makes matters worst….i cry

      Reply
    • Ricquel Welch
      Ricquel Welch June 3, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Yes girl Divine Duchess

      Reply
  9. Samantha Gittens
    Samantha Gittens June 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    And you are surprised? Really? Stupse

    Reply
  10. Alex Alleyne June 3, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    VIAGRA…….AIDA increasing among older age groups in some Countries.
    In the quest for PLEASURE , VIAGRA bring it back to life. Most MEN say “if willy dead, then Cut my throat”.
    Some people just like to ride bare back.

    Reply
  11. joan Worrell June 4, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Vote for the Party that wants to legalize same-sex marriages and cannabis. Same sex marriages are good for the country. Homosexuality is harmless. Marijuana can cure HIV. Smoke yuh weed and have yuh sex. We have the antiretroviral medication to patch you up if you become a victim and you can return to a normal life having sex with the unsuspecting . That would please Lorenzo or Lorenza or Laurie , the same-sex advocate of this ”comments section”

    Reply

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