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Editorials and Commentary

Partnership Against HIV/AIDS

May 31, 2002

"HIV/AIDS is wreaking havoc on countries around the world, most notably in sub-Saharan Africa. ...On the United States' 'third border' in the Caribbean, HIV/AIDS, left unchecked, poses a serious threat in human, economic and social terms to the region as well as to the United States.

"For much of the Caribbean, HIV/AIDS has become the leading cause of death in the 25-44 year age group. This region is the second most affected by AIDS in the world, after sub-Saharan Africa. ... In some Caribbean countries, HIV rates are five times higher in girls than boys aged 15 to 16.

"...Around the world, wherever the AIDS epidemic has leveled- off or declined, proactive engagement by high-level leadership has helped dissolve the stigma surrounding the disease, reducing discrimination and encouraging preventative behavior. In the Caribbean, the prime ministers of Barbados and St. Kitts & Nevis have championed the need to take decisive action against HIV/AIDS.

"Secretary of State Colin Powell has charged US ambassadors in the Caribbean, who recently came together in Port-au-Prince, to coordinate strategies and heighten cooperation.... Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tommy Thompson led a US government team to Guyana for a daylong meeting with Caribbean health ministers last month, where he signed the Pan Caribbean Partnership to Fight AIDS.

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"US funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the Caribbean... through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and HHS -- has doubled in the last year. The [CDC's] Global AIDS Program is providing staff in Guyana, Trinidad and Haiti. ...CDC and the Caribbean Epidemiology Center are also tracking HIV/AIDS trends throughout the region.

"...Multilateral support is also forthcoming from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to which the United States is the largest contributor with $500 million. The fund's board last month awarded a $10.2 million grant to an HIV/AIDS program in Haiti.

"...The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean outstrips the region's capabilities to address the problem, creating a need for financial and technical support. However, funding is not the only ingredient needed.... Equally important is strong leadership. ...Rising to the enormous challenge of defeating HIV/AIDS requires the Caribbean to be united and committed. There simply is no other option."

The author is undersecretary of state for global affairs.


Back to other CDC news for May 31, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Washington Times
05.27.02; Paula J. Dobriansky


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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