What Will It Take to End HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean?

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“HIV doesn’t kill; your fear of the test does,” a Chilean Health Ministry awareness campaign advertisement says. // File Image: Government of Chile via IPS News.

The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS and Caribbean Faith Leaders met in early February in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss strategies to fight the disease. The groups endorsed initiatives such as increasing prevention through better communication and dissemination of information and facilitating best practices through support of treatment and care. How effective have efforts in recent years been in fighting HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean and Latin America more broadly? How sufficient are current levels of government support for such initiatives in the region? Which countries in the region have made the greatest strides in fighting HIV and AIDS, and which countries have struggled in this regard? How much is a lack of prevention and the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS hindering efforts to fight the disease, and what more should be done?

Sara M. Allinder, deputy director and senior fellow of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies: “With an overall decline in new infections since 2000, there is much to be lauded about efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, but there are three key steps that regional governments can take to enable further success. First, increase local government financing, given globally flat-lined resources for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and reductions in the regional geographies PEPFAR supports. In the 2015 Regional Operational Plan, PEPFAR decreased the number of countries it supports through the regional program to Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago; it also bilaterally supports Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Most regional governments finance more than 50 percent of the HIV response, with the exceptions of the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti and Suriname, but that proportion should expand to ensure the sustainability of the HIV response. Second…”

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