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Concerns over reduction in HIV/AIDS funds

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) says it remains concerned about the slow implementation of the “Test and Treat” strategy within the Caribbean and the reduction as well as the inefficiency of utilisation of existing donor funds.

“The percentage of overall funding allocated to treatment in the region is not in keeping with the evidence, which now indisputably indicates that getting to sustained viral suppression removes the risk of transmission.
“Yet still only a half of those infected are on treatment, and worse, maybe less than half of those in treatment is virally suppressed,” said Dr Kevin Harvey, AFH Caribbean Regional director.

“We must continue to discuss sustainability of the response and country ownership in light of retreating donors and restricted funding, however we believe there is an even more urgent need to discuss the mammoth task of doubling, and in some cases triple, the number of persons receiving treatment.

“Moreover, the social barriers that limits one's ability to stay on treatment, we have hardly started to address,” said Harvey, ted the former head of HIV programme in Jamaica.

At least 150 national and international experts are taking part in the third Latin America and Caribbean Forum on HIV/AIDS, being held under the theme “Ending AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean towards accelerated and sustainable regional goals”.

The conference ends on Thursday and earlier Prime Ministers Jack Guy Lafontant praised the courage and determination of the various partners involved in the fight against the spread of AIDS, the discrimination and stigmatisation of people living with HIV/AIDS.

He reiterated Haiti's determination to make every effort to achieve the target of “three 90″ by 2020, namely 90 per cent of the population will be screened and know their HIV status; 90 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS will be cared and finally the viral load of 90 per cent of HIV positive will be removed.

Lafontant said the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country is committed to working to improve the quality of life of the human person, especially the most vulnerable.

AHF says it remains committed to expanding its role in the response in the region and around the world and is scaling up the resources it provides in the LAC.

“Our goal is to directly support one million persons in care by 2020,” said Michael Kahane, Southern Bureau Chief, adding “and we will not be neglecting small developing states such as Haiti the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.”

Chief of the Latin America Bureau, Dr Patricia Campos, said that AHF is also calling on governments “to address as a national emergency, the implementation of treatment for those who have the virus, considering that Test and Treat is an intervention that will not only save the lives of the individuals treated but will protect the whole society due to the resultant reduction in transmission at the community level”.

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