By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Dec. 2, 2021: Wondering just what is the Caribbean’s HIV rate? New data from the latest UN AIDS report, show there were over 300,000 people living with HIV in the Caribbean as of last year.
While the 2021 report release on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1st, said the Caribbean has made steady progress against AIDS, especially in providing lifesaving testing and treatment to people living with HIV, the data shows an estimated 6,000 adults and children have died from the disease as of 2020.
But the report said, despite those deaths, AIDS related deaths have been cut in half since 2010 in the Caribbean, although the region fell short of the 2020 testing and treatment targets.
The data released also show that over 13,000 adults and children made up the newly infected cases in the region as of last year.
The UN report added that the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters have disrupted health systems, exacerbating financial, technical and human resource gaps in health services.
“Overcoming these disruptions and continuing HIV service expansion towards the 2025 targets requires the full implementation of best practices in combination prevention, testing and treatment,” the report’s authors state. “This includes self-testing, rights-based index testing, multi-month dispensing and transition to more effective first-line treatment regimens.”
UN officials also said the COVID-19 pandemic has also fueled gender-based violence in the Caribbean, which along with gender inequalities and stigma and discrimination, continue to impede the region’s HIV response.
“Despite some policy progress towards eliminating gender- and sex-based discrimination, unequal gender relations remain the norm, and sexual minorities are exposed to harsh social stigma and discrimination,” the report stated.
“An integrated approach to HIV, sexual and reproductive health, and gender-based violence services would help reach adolescent girls and young women and neglected key populations,” the report added.