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Press Release

New Pan-Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS Launched

Coalition of Partners Cuts Across Sectors to Mobilize Resources, Expand Response, Reduce Impact of AIDS

February 14, 2001

Bridgetown, Barbados -- A new coalition to fight AIDS on a region-wide scale was launched officially today on the occasion of the CARICOM Intersessional Heads of Government meeting.

"The Partnership is designed to significantly scale up the response to HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean," said Dr. Eddie Green, Assistant Director General of CARICOM. "The Caribbean is the worst affected region outside Africa and an expanded response involving governments, business, and the international community is essential if the spread of the epidemic is to be reversed."

Nine of the 12 countries with the highest infection rates in the Americas are in the Caribbean basin, and AIDS has become a major cause of death among the 15-44 age group in several countries.

"AIDS in the Caribbean has reached a watershed moment," said Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). "Without decisive action, the epidemic and its impact will cause untold harm for decades ahead. But the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS represents the chance to build a better future."

Under the leadership of Caribbean governments and coordinated by CARICOM, the new Partnership will seek to significantly reduce the number of new HIV infections, provide care and support for those affected and infected by HIV/AIDS, reduce stigma and discrimination, and mobilize and strengthen the capacity of communities, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and people living with AIDS to expand the response to the epidemic and stop its spread.

"An intensified response requires additional resources, however. Clearly, the need for resources against HIV and AIDS far outstrips their availability," said Dr. Piot. "According to the University of West Indies, a conservative estimate of the cost of a comprehensive response to the epidemic in the Caribbean would be in the order of US$ 260 million a year, ten times more than current HIV/AIDS-related international spending in the region.

Initiatives such as the World Bank's Adjustable Programme Loan for the Caribbean can help reduce this gap. "The World Bank is increasing its advocacy efforts and is highly committed to HIV/AIDS issues both throughout the Caribbean and in other regions of the world," said Xavier Coll, Director of the Human Development Department, Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office of the World Bank.

The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS is a broad coalition of actors operating at different levels and among different sectors by complementing one another, with a shared strategic agenda. The Partnership will help the region to achieve the following global and regional targets:

  • by 2005, 90% of young people aged 15-24 should have access to information, education and services to help reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection;
  • by 2005, HIV prevalence among 15-24-year olds should be reduced by 25%; and
  • by 2003, HIV transmission from mother to child should be reduced by 50%.

Partners will work with the shared vision that the Caribbean nations, with the support of regional and international partners, will be implementing larger-scale, sustained and effective multisectoral national and regional responses to HIV/AIDS. By acting in synergy with each other, the partners will help enhance the impact of their individual actions and avoid fragmentation of efforts.

The Partnership is made up of all countries of the region, including the dependent territories.

Coordinated by CARICOM, the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS covers all countries of the region, including the dependent territories. In support of the effectiveness of the Partnership, a series will constitute a series of sub-committees will advise on issues such as resource mobilization, research and advocacy. Coordination with national and regional programmes will be provided by the network of National AIDS Programmes. UNAIDS will support the Partnership in key areas including access to care initiatives, broadening the partnership base, and scaling up international visibility and commitment from the broader UN system.

The Partnership’s launch takes place just months before the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, scheduled on 25-27 June, which will help mobilize governments worldwide to fight against the epidemic.

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This article was provided by UNAIDS. Visit UNAIDS' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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