A total of $307 million has been set aside in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure for an HIV prevalence reduction project.
The objectives of the project include: increasing safer sex practices and improving attitudes and behaviours among vulnerable high risk groups; reducing HIV transmission by delaying sexual initiation, promoting abstinence and increasing condom use among sexually active adolescents; finalising and disseminating the national HIV/AIDS workplace policy; and reducing stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS.
As of March 2012, the project has conducted risk reduction interventions for out- of-school adolescence in high risk communities; conducted awareness workshops with vulnerable persons; sensitised HIV positive adolescents about their reproductive health rights, responsible sexual decision-making and prevention of mother to child transmission; conducted focus group sessions with faith-based organisations; and conducted workshops which focused on reducing stigma and discrimination.
For the 2012/13 fiscal year the project aims to: procure test kits for the most at risk groups; increase the availability of HIV test kits for men who have sex with men (MSM) and promote its use; conduct mapping exercise for sex work sites; and provide support for Regional Health Authorities to conduct empowerment workshops.
The programme, called the Prevalence in Most-at-Risk Population Reduced project, is funded by the Government of Jamaica and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is scheduled to be completed by September 2014.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter