St. Vincent and the Grenadines will join the rest of the World in observing World Aids Day today.
The National HIV and AIDs Secretariat within the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment – will be hosting a march and rally throughout capital city Kingstown today, as part of their contribution, to mark the event.
Countries from across the globe will come together to observe World Aids Day, which is being held annually on December 1st.This year’s theme is, “Hands Up For HIV Prevention”-Take The Challenge End Aids” – Assistant to the Director of the National HIV and AIDS Secretariat within the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment, Azonya Vanloo, said there has been an accumulated total of 1,504 persons from 1984 to date – who have been infected with HIV, adding that there has been a number of new cases. Ms. Vanloo highlighted that persons between the age of 15 and 49 have been mostly affected by the virus. Additionally, Ms. Vanloo explained that the HIV and AIDS Secretariat hope to put measures in place for persons who knowingly spread the disease.
9% RISE IN HIV INFECTIONS
A new report by UNAIDS reveals concerning trends in new HIV infections among adults. The Prevention gap report shows that while significant progress is being made in stopping new HIV infections among children (new HIV infections have declined by more than 70% among children since 2001 and are continuing to decline), the decline in new HIV infections among adults has stalled.
The Prevention gap report shows that an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV every year for at least the past five years and that new HIV infections among adults are rising in some regions.
The Prevention gap report gives the clear message that HIV prevention efforts need to be increased in order to stay on the Fast-Track to ending AIDS by 2030.
The AIDS epidemic has had a huge impact over the past 35 years. Since the start of the epidemic, 35 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses and an estimated 78 million people have become infected with HIV.
1.2% OF THE POPULATION IS HIV POSITIVE
A total of 1.2 percent of this nation’s adult population is reported to be HIV positive. This according to information received from Epidemiologist, Tamara Bobb. Bobb while speaking at a ceremony last Thursday where the Ministry of health, Wellness and the Environment launched activities for World AIDS Day indicated that they will continue to work to lower this number over the next five years. Reports have indicated that currently 1.2 percent of the adult population that is the 15-49 year age group, or 0.7 percent of the total population is HIV positive.
Bobb has been quoted as saying that the draft national health sector strategic plan crafted to guide the activities of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment over the next five years outlines two specific targets as it relates to reducing the incidence of HIV and AIDS and improving the quality of life for persons living with this disease.
SVG HAS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF HIV PERSONS
Statistics from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has revealed that St. Vincent has the highest number of people living with HIV and AIDS in the Eastern Caribbean.
This as the report stated, that some 800 people are infected with the sexually transmitted disease.
Statistics from the UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS also revealed that more than 500 people are living with HIV / AIDS in Saint Lucia, representing the second highest figure in the Eastern Caribbean.
These findings were revealed by Latin America and Caribbean Regional Support Team Director for UNAIDS Dr. Cesar Nunez who provided data from the UNAIDS Caribbean Summary of the AIDS epidemic in 2015.
The remaining Eastern Caribbean countries have approximately 150-300 persons living with HIV and two percent of the people living with HIV in the Caribbean reside in the Eastern Caribbean.
St. Kitts and Nevis and Dominica are closest to achieving the 90-90-90 targets, reporting fewer than 20 new HIV infections and fewer than 10 AIDS-related deaths annually over the last five years.
Through the widespread expansion of anti retroviral treatment for mothers living with HIV, there have been dramatic declines in HIV transmission to children.
Cuba led the world by becoming the first country to be validated last year by the World Health Organization as having eliminated this form of HIV transmission.
St. Vincent has made leaps and bounds in the mother to child transmission.
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