Trinidad: Fear of HIV Leaves Many Orphans Societal Outcasts
April 17, 2006
At a recent Rotary Club meeting in Port of Spain, the technical director of Trinidad's National AIDS Coordinating Committee said HIV/AIDS is decimating families' safety nets. "The impact of HIV and AIDS on the household is a loss of caregivers, income-earners and educators," said Amery Browne. "Sometimes when family life is impaired, it leads to vulnerability to HIV," he added.
The Caribbean, not including Cuba, has the world's second-highest HIV infection rate at 2.4 percent. In Trinidad, the rate is around 2.5 percent. Since the first case was diagnosed in 1983, official figures show Trinidad and Tobago have recorded more than 15,940 HIV/AIDS cases for the period ending in 2005, of which 73 percent occurred in the 15-49 age group.
Social workers have reported an increase in the number of abandoned children. As a result, Trinidad has experienced a proliferation of homes for abandoned and abused children. Carol Ann McKenzie, a Ministry of Social Development communications specialist, said the government is working on establishing an authority to provide a regulatory framework to govern, monitor and review orphanages.
The World Bank is providing $20 million to augment government efforts to deal with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Trinidad. "This loan supports the government of Trinidad and Tobago's goal to expand HIV/AIDS prevention care and treatment for all citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable to acquiring the disease," said Caroline Anstey, the bank's director for the Caribbean.
Inter Press Service
04.11.06; Peter Richards
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.