Caribbean leads world in reducing the number of new HIV/AIDS infections


 The United Nations is reporting major progress by the Caribbean in battling HIV/AIDS, with the region recording the biggest drop in new infections compared to all regions in the world.

According to a report from the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), ‘How AIDS changed everything — MDG6: 15 years, 15 lessons of hope from the AIDS response’ which indicates that the world has met and exceeded the sixth millennium development goal of halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic, it is estimated that the number of people newly infected with HIV in the Caribbean in 2014 had been cut in half since 2000.

“The number of people living with HIV in the Caribbean fell sharply in the first half of the past decade, as new infections declined and substantial AIDS-related mortality persisted. As access to HIV treatment has expanded, the number of people living with HIV has stabilized and begun to increase, consistent with trends seen globally,” stated the report which was released yesterday on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.

The decrease in new infections was most pronounced in the 2000 to 2004 period, when they fell by almost 32 per cent. In the 2005 to 2009 and 2010 to 2014 periods, more modest declines in new infections of about 10 per cent occurred.

Haiti accounted for roughly half of all new HIV infections in 2014 in the Caribbean, with the Dominican Republic contributing the second largest number of new infections.

AIDS-related deaths in the region have also fallen by 59 per cent since 2005.

“The Caribbean is the only region in which the estimated decline in tuberculosis-related deaths among people living with HIV has exceeded 50 per cent. From 2004 to 2013, TB-related deaths among people living with HIV in the Caribbean fell by 66 per cent,” the report stated.

Worldwide, new HIV infections have fallen by 35 per cent and AIDS-related deaths by 41 per cent, and UNAIDS said the world is on track to ends the AIDS epidemic by 2030. [. . .]

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