$378 Million for Universal Access to HIV Treatment


The Ministry of Health and Environment continues to place emphasis on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with an allotment of $378.2 million to provide universal access for HIV treatment, care and prevention service.This is set out in the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
The project, which is being funded by a grant from the Global Fund, with the Ministry of Health and Environment acting as the implementing agency, commenced in April of this year and is expected to run through to March 2013.
Under the project, the Ministry expects to strengthen the multi-sector national response to prevent and address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Jamaica. This will be done through consolidating existing gains, while scaling up to reduce the transmission of new HIV infections and mitigate the impact of the HIV epidemic.
This is in addition to providing universal access to Anti-retroviral treatment, care and support and also protecting fundamental human rights of individuals, while empowering all Jamaicans to make healthy choices. Also included in its objectives is an overall national and workplace policy and structures necessary for implementation.
For this fiscal year, there are a number of deliverables, which include targeting 100,000 persons for counselling and HIV testing, 1,700 commercial sex workers, 2,000 men having sex with men, 600 inmates and 75,000 sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic attendees, through prevention activities.
Activities under the programme are also aimed at adolescents and youth as some 50,000 students will be among those reached through life-skills based on Health and Family Life Education Intervention (HFLE) in schools, while 16,000 adolescents (10 -14 years) and youth (15 -24 years) will be targeted through prevention interventions in out-of-school settings.
This is in addition to increasing from 5 per cent to 20 per cent, schools with at least one teacher trained in life skills based HFLE interventions and who taught in the last year.
Some 500 infants born to HIV mothers will receive Polymerase Chain Reaction testing according to national guidelines and 1,500 additional CD4 test will be conducted in accordance with national guidelines.
Among other goals of the project are to increase from 25 to 35 per cent the number of reported cases of discrimination receiving redress by settlement; improving the percentage from 60 to 65 persons living with HIV/AIDS on anti-retrovirals, reporting at least 90 per cent adherence by pill count and also increasing from 55 to 60, the number of institutions adopting policies to address HIV/AIDS.
Sixty-five individuals in stakeholder organizations will also be trained in strategic information monitoring, evaluation and/or surveillance.

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