JIS News

Eight institutions and projects, dedicated to the fight against HIV/AIDS, have benefited from grant assistance valued at $63.6 million from the Global Fund to combat malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS.
The Ministry of Health, on June 23, signed the grant agreements with the beneficiaries at a function held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston. They are: the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture; Jamaica Network of Seropositives; Jamaica AIDS Support; Hope Worldwide; Children First; Jamaica Employers Federation; Youth Now and UWI-HIV/AIDS Response Programme.
The assistance will enable the recipients to undertake year two activities under a five-year programme being funded by the Global Fund at a cost of US$23 million, which aims to “scale up HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and policy efforts in Jamaica”. A total of $239.8 million was allocated to year one activities, which began in June 2004 and ended on May 31.
Year two activities will focus on the treatment and care of persons living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) as well as prevention measures. The objectives include reducing stigma and discrimination associated with the disease; protecting the rights of PLWHA; improving attitudes and behaviours among vulnerable groups; promoting safer sex practices, including encouraging the delay of sexual initiation, promoting abstinence and increasing condom use among sexually active adolescents and young people.
Dr Yitades Gebre, Executive Director of the National HIV/STI Prevention and Control Programme, pointing to achievements under year one of the project, informed that the Ministry was able to procure antiretroviral drugs and CD4 machines to provide testing for 1,330 PLWHAs. In addition,12 treatment sites were established and antiretroviral therapy was given to 848 persons with advanced HIV.
The programe also provided for the development and implementation of targeted approaches for vulnerable groups including a secondary prevention and intervention programme and the development of resource material for PLWHA.
United Nations Global Fund and Theme Group on HIV/AIDS representative, Harold Robinson, who witnessed the signing, commended the government and the groups involved with the project.
He called on all stakeholders to strive for a comprehensive national response to the fight against HIV/AIDS. “I want to encourage the stakeholders to continue to strive to ensure that the national response is holistic,” he stated.
Grace Allen-Young, Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, lauded the project participants for their efforts during the first year and urged them to stay committed in order to ensure future funding and “significant developments and changes by 2007”.
A total of 9,209 AIDS cases and 5,727 AIDS related deaths have been reported in Jamaica between 1982 and 2004.