Preventing HIV & AIDS
Minister of Health, Hon. Osbourne Bodden, along with Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kiran Kumar, attended the 13th Annual General Meeting of the Pan Caribbean Partnership (PANCAP) Against HIV and AIDS in Guadeloupe earlier this month.
The two-day meeting which takes place every two years focused on the topic: “Positioning the Partnership for Post 2015”.
At the meeting officials tackled a number of central objectives, including discussing the region’s achievements in combatting HIV and AIDS, as well challenges and planned responses.
They highlighted a 49 percent decline in HIV within the Caribbean and an improved quality of life for people living with HIV and AIDS.
Ninety percent of pregnant women are now receiving services to prevent mother-to-child transmission. In addition patients routinely benefit from enhanced health systems and a scale-up of prevention, treatment, care and support services along with access to more affordable medicines.
Meeting participants endorsed a four-year plan for a regional strategic framework; and identified strategies to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment and care. In addition they developed strategies for sustaining gains and protecting investments in HIV and health; and explored the future role of PANCAP.
Commenting on the AGM Minister Bodden said,
“The meeting offered an opportunity to share experiences with regional counterparts in order to improve our combined efforts.”
“I am also excited to see the improvement in regional results which indicates that we are in fact making progress towards an AIDS-free Caribbean,” he added.
According to the PANCAP meeting declaration report, participants have identified 90-90-90 treatment targets to reduce HIV infections.
Therefore, by 2020, 90 percent of those with HIV should know their status, 90 percent of those who are HIV positive should be on affordable healthcare. Meanwhile 90 percent of those on treatment should have undetectable viral loads. These objectives are seen as the necessary steps to take toward the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
Minister Bodden stated that the Ministry is committed to providing whatever support it takes to achieve these targets.
He also noted, “I was delighted to learn that our prevalence is very low compared to other countries in the region. I commend the Public Health Department, Cayman AIDS Foundation and the Cayman Islands Red Cross for working collaboratively to enable our islands’ residents access to free testing- and I urge the public to continue to take advantage of this opportunity.”
For further information contact: Yvette Cacho