A study has found that while the Caribbean has made progress in responding to the HIV epidemic, the impact of the prevention response has been inadequate, particularly among key populations.
The study also found that of concern to regional stakeholders is that the annual number of new HIV infections among adults in the Caribbean declined by only 18 per cent from 2010 to 2017, from 19,000 to 15,000.
“Key populations, men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers (SWs) and their clients, and partners of key populations, transgender persons, and persons who use drugs, accounted for the majority of the new HIV infections (68 per cent) during this period.”
The study was commissioned by the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) Priority Areas Coordinating Committee (PACC), which is the technical group of the PANCAP Executive Board and is responsible for the coordination and overseeing the implementation of operational plans for the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS (CRSF) 2014 – 2018.
The overall goal of the CRSF 2014-2018 was to halt the spread and reduce the impact of HIV in the Caribbean, while promoting a sustainable response within member states.
The indicators developed to determine the overall achievement of the stated goal included the percentage of persons aged 15 – 49 years diagnosed with HIV in the last 12 months; percentage of children born to HIV-infected mothers who are infected; percentage of persons living with HIV (PLHIV) on treatment (ART) and virally suppressed; and Domestic and International AIDS spending by category and funding sources.
According to the findings of the study, new infections among children fell from an estimated 2,300 in 2010, to 1100.
However, although significant progress has been made in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV, available data for the period 2015 – 2017 showed that HIV infected pregnant women receiving ART to reduce HIV transmission declined from 92 per cent in 2014 to 79 per cent in 2015 and 75 per cent in 2016 and 2017 respectively, illustrating a significant decrease that requires investigation.