The Caribbean fighting AIDS


unaids_logo_edit.jpgThe Caribbean Launch of the UNAIDS Global 2008 report revealed that last year an estimated 23,000 - 270,000 persons were living with HIV, while an estimated 20,000 - 25,000 were newly infected, while 14,000 have died of illnesses related to AIDS. However, the spread of the illness has stabilized, while the numbers have declined in a few urban areas. This is most evident in the Dominican Republic and Haiti where the epidemic is most rampant. An estimated 30,000 people with HIV have received antiretroviral treatment, which is a 50 percent increase since 2006.

Edwin Carrington, Secretary General of CARICOM, said that the Caribbean is the only region in the world which has built strong partnerships against the epidemic, in the form of Pan Caribbean Partnerships against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP).

AIDS still remains one of the leading sources of death among the 25 - 44 age group in the Caribbean, but with continued scaling of the antiretroviral treatment, the number of persons with HIV progressing to AIDS could be reduced.

UNAIDS said that the main cause of HIV transmission in the Caribbean remains unprotected heterosexual sex, but "unprotected sex between men is also a significant factor..."