Reduction in AIDS-related mortality and new HIV-infection among children in region

(L to R): UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Management and External Relations, Ms Jan Beagle; Hon. Rodger Samuel, Minister in the Office of the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister responsible for HIV; Dr Ernest Massiah, Director, UNAIDS Caribbean; Hon. Sam Condor, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of St Kitts and Nevis; Mr. Ainsley Reid, GIPA, Jamaica; Ms Angelica Hunt, Ag UN Resident Coordinator; and Ms. Izola Garcia, UNAIDS Coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 1ST 2011 (CUOPM) – Participants at a recent UNAIDS-sponsored meeting in Trinidad have acknowledged that important progress in the region has been made to date, including a 43 percent reduction in AIDS-related mortality between 2001 and 2008, and an 18 percent reduction in new HIV infections among children during the same time period.

There has been significant expansion of programmes to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission of HIV, with four countries that reaching 95 percent coverage.

But stigma and discrimination, homophobia and a punitive legal environment continue to undermine efforts to reach universal access goals towards HIV prevention, treatment, care and support across the Caribbean.

There are 11 countries in the region that criminalize sex between people of the same sex, and 13 that criminalize sex work. Five countries, territories and areas continue to impose restrictions on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV.

Participants during the universal access consultation that took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 23-24 March 2011

Representatives from St. Kitts and Nevis were among government, civil society, people living with HIV, UN agencies and development partners from across the Caribbean, who met in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to review progress made towards achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support targets.

According to UNAIDS, the two-day meeting held from 23-24 March was convened by UNAIDS in collaboration with partners in the lead up to the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, which will take place in June 2011.

“This is a unique opportunity for everyone who is part of the AIDS response day after day to reflect and take stock of where we are on our shared journey,” said UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Management and External Relations, Jan Beagle.

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