JIS News

An inter-ministerial group is to be established to engage various at-risk groups on HIV/AIDS awareness matters.

Cabinet has given instructions for the setting-up of the group, which will involve the Ministries of Health, Education, and Youth and Culture.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, who provided details at Wednesday’s (July 3) weekly Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, said the move stems from a recent update on HIV/AIDS in Jamaica.

The report revealed that HIV is prevalent among select groups of the population, including the 15 to 49 age group; ante-natal clinic attendees; female sex workers; men who have sex with men; inmates; homeless persons; and drug users.

Senator Falconer said Cabinet was told that factors driving the epidemic include: persons having multiple sex partners; insufficient condom use; people with HIV who do not know they are infected; early initiation of sexual activity; and transactional sex (exchanging sexfor gifts or goods).

Meanwhile, Cabinet approved two contracts valued a little over US$2 million, for the supply of anti-retroviral drugs. One contract is to be awarded to Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited (United States) to provide nine items for US$740,042; while Milan Laboratories Limited (India) will also supply nine items for US$1.45 million.

The Ministry of Health, through a grant from the Global Fund, provides anti-retroviral drugs, free of cost, for persons living with HIV/AIDS, at public health facilities and treatment centres islandwide.

Contact: Alphea Saunders

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