Call for Caribbean Community’s HIV Prevention in the United Kingdom

Deborah Jack, chief executive for the National AIDS Trust (NAT) in the United Kingdom calls for a national strategy to tackle stigma and raise awareness on HIV/AIDS and HIV prevention needs of black Caribbean communities.

A recently released NAT documents reports that there is no strategy in place despite figures that show that black Caribbean people make up one percent of the UK population but account for three percent of people living with HIV. The Trust’s report, “HIV and Black Caribbean Communities in the UK,” presented data from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) that shows that HIV prevalence is over four times higher than in the white population.

Ms. Jack explains that “In the UK, we have specific national HIV prevention strategies for gay and bisexual men and for black Africans but no strategy for the black Caribbean population. We are ignoring the health needs of this group and it is having serious consequences for HIV rates,” adding that “stigma and discrimination is reported to be particularly strong in this community” and that this problem should be addressed: “A national prevention strategy for the black Caribbean population is needed, not just to ensure this group get information they need to protect their health but also to address the specific cultural issues that affect HIV rates. Addressing homophobia, working with faith organizations and specific peer support services would all have an impact on HIV rates among black Caribbean people.”

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