Caribbean News

Progress! Region with nearly 50 percent less AIDS deaths

The Caribbean – December 9, 2020 – The Caribbean region has managed to dramatically reduce HIV Aids cases and deaths in the past decade, according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA.

“The number of people dying of AIDS-related deaths have decreased from 11 thousand in 2010 to 6,900 in 2019.  During that same period, the Region has also seen a reduction of new HIV cases down from an estimated 18.000 new cases to 13.000 per year,” said CARPHA on Monday in a statement issued regionally.

The Agency was also trying to determine the impact of Covid-19 on those living with HIV-AIDS, and a summary of 25 studies conducted exposed that: “…on COVID-19 patients (252) living with HIV, two-thirds (66.5%) had mild to moderate symptoms.  Among patients who died, the majority (90.5%) were over 50 years old and had multimorbidity (64.3%).”

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For the Executive Director of CARPHA the answer is indeed found in the 2020 World Aids Day theme:  “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”.  

“The need for a multisectoral response is even greater in COVID-19 times.   We have to take innovative steps towards the global goals, so that our Region’s promise to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 can become a reality,” stated Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA Executive Director.

Dr. St. John admonished Health Ministries of the region to continue the focus, treatment and awareness of HIV/AIDS despite and amidst the demanding nature of the current health crisis.

 “The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the difficulties in ensuring access for persons living with HIV, vulnerable communities and those facing inequalities, to receiving healthcare.  We need to ensure that the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS are not violated, and also ensure the continued provision of HIV services for children, adolescents and key populations during COVID-19.”

CARPHA uses today, December 1 World Aids Day to recommit to supporting regional health ministries and departments to “end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”

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