Commentary & Opinion
HIV/AIDS Epidemic at "Tipping Point" in Many Caribbean Countries, Opinion Piece Says
July 6, 2005
HIV/AIDS has "taken a strong hold" on local populations of many small Caribbean islands, and HIV/AIDS experts say the epidemic is at a "tipping point" in the region, Loretta McLaughlin, a senior fellow at the Harvard AIDS Institute, writes in a Boston Globe opinion piece. According to data collected by the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, HIV prevalence for 17 countries in the region, excluding Haiti and Guyana, is between 1% and 2.5%, but the rates are moving "relentlessly and seemingly inexorably upward," McLaughlin, a former Globe editorial page editor, says. Although the Clinton Foundation and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have provided medical expertise and millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS programs in the region, those working to fight the disease know that understanding local customs and practices is key to fighting the epidemic, she writes. Sexual activity among young people, a low marriage rate, a high teenage birth rate, and cultural and religious taboos remain challenges to HIV prevention, McLaughlin says. Although the number of HIV-positive people seems "sparse because the general populations are so small, the ramifications pose just as severe economic and human consequences as anywhere else," McLaughlin writes (McLaughlin, Boston Globe, 7/2).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.