JIS News

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  • As at the end of 2003, there were approximately 20,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica, with 34 per cent of those persons in the age group 30 to 39 years and 20 per cent percent in the age group 20 to 29 years.
  • This information was revealed by Dr. Tamu Saddler, Regional HIV/AIDS Programme Coordinator at the Western Regional Health Authority, while giving the main address at the commissioning of a condom-dispensing machine at the Margaritaville sports bar in Montego Bay on Friday, July 9.
  • Pointing out that HIV/AIDS was the second leading cause of death for both men and women in the 30 to 34 age group, Dr. Saddler said that on average, approximately 12 to 13 Jamaicans died per week from the disease.

As at the end of 2003, there were approximately 20,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica, with 34 per cent of those persons in the age group 30 to 39 years and 20 per cent percent in the age group 20 to 29 years.

This information was revealed by Dr. Tamu Saddler, Regional HIV/AIDS Programme Coordinator at the Western Regional Health Authority, while giving the main address at the commissioning of a condom-dispensing machine at the Margaritaville sports bar in Montego Bay on Friday, July 9.

Pointing out that HIV/AIDS was the second leading cause of death for both men and women in the 30 to 34 age group, Dr. Saddler said that on average, approximately 12 to 13 Jamaicans died per week from the disease. Urging persons to practice safe sex, she said that, “we do not want to reach the statistics of sub-Saharan Africa, where 10 to 11 persons die each minute from the disease.”

With a 30 per cent HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa has dropped from 60 years to 40 years. Life expectancy in Jamaica is 74 years, which compares favourably with any developed country in the world.

Highlighting some of the negative implications of HIV/AIDS, Dr. Saddler pointed out that it reduced the productive capacity of a country since most of those infected were within the workforce and caused a breakdown in the family structure through the loss of a parent/parents. “Every single sector is affected by this epidemic,” she stated.

She argued further, that HIV/AIDS could not be viewed as just a health problem as it posed a threat to social and economic development, which would over time, reduce the capacity of governments to provide for their populations.

“The HIV/AIDS epidemic now poses one of the greatest threats to mankind and its achievements in health and development throughout the world,” she stated.