CARIBBEAN: New UNAIDS report urges increased attention to adolescent girls and men who have sex with men

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CARIBBEAN: New UNAIDS report urges increased attention to adolescent girls and men who have sex  with men

2015-11-30 13_19_26-World AIDS Day Resources - slunewsonline@gmail.com - GmailPRESS RELEASE – The new UNAIDS Fast Track Strategy is geared toward helping the world achieve its commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Caribbean can build on the gains of its HIV responses to end AIDS as a public health threat. A new global HIV report released today ahead of World AIDS Day, “Focus on Location and Population”, demonstrates the value of targeting the people and places with the highest HIV risk as part of an approach to dramatically reduce HIV transmission.

At the centre of the strategy is new science which shows that early and full HIV treatment reduces the risk of HIV transmission by 96%. The next five years present a window of opportunity to scale up HIV testing and treatment. The new 2020 targets adopted by the region are known as 90-90-90.

Specifically, countries will aim to ensure that 90% of people living with HIV know their status; that 90% of those diagnosed with HIV are placed on treatment and that 90% of those on treatment achieve viral suppression. “Viral suppression” means that the level of HIV in the blood is so low that health outcomes improve while the risk of transmission dramatically declines.

The Caribbean can achieve these ambitious targets. Since 2000, new infections in the region declined by 50%. In the last ten years alone the Caribbean achieved a 61% reduction in AIDS-related deaths. Additionally, following the success of Cuba, several Caribbean countries are on track to be validated as having eliminated HIV transmission from mothers to children by 2016.

All these gains are linked to improvements in HIV testing and treatment. Based on the new World Health Organisation guidelines for initiating patients on antiretroviral medicines immediately after diagnosis, treatment coverage for the region is 44% for adults living with HIV and 36% for children.

By scaling up efforts to test and treat, the 90-90-90 targets are achievable. The new UNAIDS report emphasises that in order to dramatically reduce new HIV infections anddeaths due to AIDS, we must rethink and renew efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination.

Strategic efforts are required to reach those who are most vulnerable, where they are. The report identifies five groups relevant to the Caribbean that require intense investments and efforts— adolescent girls and young women, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender During his mission to the region earlier this month, UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, stressed the importance of addressing not only the prevention and HIV treatment needs of girls, but also the need for increasing social protection. Education, keeping girls in school and addressing gender-based violence are all key ingredients to reducing the disproportionate HIV risk borne by girls.

Young women in the Caribbean are two to three times more likely to be living with HIV as young men. This is partially explained by the early sexual debut among young women in the Caribbean and the prevalence of intergenerational sex involving younger females and older male partners. “We need to ensure that our programmes can reach girls where they are and address their concerns. That is not resolved with pills.

The problem is structural. We need to have courage to remove boundaries… make sure people should no longer accept gender inequality or the social construction that if I am the man I can abuse women as I want,” Sidibé said. Targeted efforts are also needed to address key populations. HIV rates among men who have sex with men vary throughout the region but are well documented to be between six and 20 times higher “Those groups are very vulnerable,” he said.

“We know that when we discriminate they will hide themselves and they will not have access to services. Some of them will have relationships with women and infection goes on to the general population. Justice for all is key if we want to achieve the goal of breaking backbone of the epidemic.”

Sidibé urged increased investments and collaboration with civil society and the faith-based community aimed at reducing prejudice and providing services to hard-to-reach communities. “It is very clear that the traditional service approach will not work. We need to bring all these partners around the table. We will never reach all people where they are if we do not reduce stigma and discrimination. There is no way to do it without compassion… without realising that any life lost because people do not have access to services is unacceptable,” he ended.

  • In 2014, there were 280 000 [210 000–340 000] people living with HIV in the Caribbean.
  • In 2014, there were an estimated 13 000 [9600–17 000] new HIV infections in the region. New HIV infections declined by 50% between 2000 and 2014.
  • In the Caribbean, 8800 [5700–13 000] people died of AIDS-related causes in 2014. Between2000 and 2014 the number of AIDS-related deaths in the region fell by more than half. Haiti accounted for about half of all AIDS-related deaths in the region in 2014.
  • Treatment coverage is 44% [33%-54%] of people 15 years or older living with HIV in Caribbean and 36% [32%-42%] among children.
  • There were <500 [<500– <1000] new HIV infections among children in the Caribbean in 2014.

 

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  1. Thats a high no. of people in the caribbean living with HIV. the population in the caribbean is less than 200, 000 for most and we have more than that overall. anyway we second to subsaharan africa for HIV
    prevalence. and yet we not hearing the message. what is increasing it in our young women is the sex with older men category. them old men been around the block already and want many young girls. please young women for the sake of your future send them packing. and those fellas with how much women and the downlow ones are the problem too. send these packing too. stick to your age group both men and women .work together to build a life and family. stop the multiple partners. we will be better off for it.

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