Above: an event in Haiti to mark World Aids Day including US Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White, UNAIDS’ Michle Sidibe and Haiti First Lady Sophia Martelly (Photo: FL Haiti)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
HIV infection rates are on a downward trend in the Caribbean, according to a the UNAIDS Global Report for 2012.
The report was released at the end of last month, ahead of World Aids Day on Saturday.
From 2001 to 2011, the Caribbean saw the sharpest decline in the number of New HIV infections, topped by Suriname, which experienced an 86 percent drop in the number of new infections, followed by a 73-percent fall in the Dominican Republic.
Haiti saw a 54 percent drop, Barbados’ rate fell by 66 percent and Belize’s rate of new infections fell by 54 percent.
Jamaica and Trinidad Tobago saw 33 percent and 40 percent drops, respectively.
During a meeting with Haiti President Michel Martelly on Friday, Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS’ executive director in Haiti, said his agency would continue to support the efforts of Haitian authorities in the fight against the disease.
Haiti’s First Lady, Sophia Martelly, has been an outspoken advocate of combating HIV/AIDS in the country, something she talked about with Caribbean Journal earlier this year.
“We are very conscious of the Milennium Development [Goals],” Martelly said. “We are strengthening our health system as a whole, because the results of health care cannot be achieved with our current health system.”
Martelly said he was asking UNAIDS to assist the government in its plea to donors to allow funds allocated for AIDS in Haiti to reinforce the health system.