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JIS News

A total of 150 new cases of HIV/AIDS were reported in Clarendon last year bringing the number of reported cases in that parish to 700.
The total represent a 105.48 per cent increase over the 73 cases reported in 2003. “Having come to the end of another year and just starting a new one, in our review, we see where the epidemic continues unabated,” said Dr. Sonia Copeland, Medical Officer of Health at the Clarendon Health Department.
Dr. Copeland told JIS News, that of the 150 new cases, 90 were female and 60 were male, adding that this has been a reversal of the previous trends, where more male than female cases have been recorded. She also noted that 112 of these cases or about 75 per cent were in the 15 to 29 age group.
According to Dr. Copeland, a number of the new cases were discovered through the Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) programme, which was implemented in June 2003. Under the programme, free testing is provided for pregnant mothers and persons who visit the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) clinic.
“What this means is that we have to continue with the programmes that we have already implemented and to intensify our strategies,” she told JIS News.
Meanwhile, Dr. Copeland said that the Health Department would be intensifying its prevention programme, to cut down on the number of HIV cases in the parish.
The measures will involve identifying and working with communities at risk under a Targeted Community Intervention (TCI) programme; targeting special groups such as commercial sex workers, employees in the hospitality and transport sectors, as well as continuing to educate adolescents in and out of school.
Dr. Copeland told JIS News, that locations where persons go to meet new sex partners would also be targeted, under the Priority Locations for AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE), in order to pass on the HIV/STI prevention message.
About 8,000 persons were reached during 2004, through clinics, individual and group counselling sessions conducted by STI contact investigators.

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