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A sum of $269 million has been earmarked in the 200/2007 Estimates of Expenditure for the HIV/AIDS Treatment, Prevention and Control Programme in the Ministry of Health.
Funded from a grant by the Global AIDS Fund, the programme seeks to strengthen the multi-sector national response to prevent and address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Jamaica.
This will be achieved through beefing up efforts to provide antiretroviral drugs to both children and adults living with HIV/AIDS and promoting safer sex practices, including abstinence, especially among sub-populations and marginalized groups, who tend to be the most vulnerable.
The programme also seeks to complete and implement policies and legislative framework to specially address stigma and discrimination aimed at people living with HIV/AIDS and vulnerable high-risk groups.
So far, the programme boasts a number of achievements since it inception in 2004. Some 991 persons have been tested for HIV, while another 1,035 individuals have been put on antiretroviral medication.
Approximately 1,200 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) have been receiving adherence counseling. This has been facilitated with the equipping of 18 treatment sites with adherence counselors.
Additionally, some 2916 condoms and lubricants have been distributed as part of the Ministry’s prevention activities.
For this fiscal year, the programme has a number of plans, which mainly include, improving on some of its achievements over the past year. It expects to test some 62,000 more persons for HIV and put 2,000 individuals on antiretroviral drugs, in addition to distributing 10,000 condoms.
Also, some 1,700 PLWA will receive adherence counseling and 12 treatment centres will be equipped with such counselors.
There are also plans to adopt the National Policy on HIV/AIDS and take its message to an estimated one million persons through advertising campaigns.
Meanwhile, the Enhanced Caribbean Response to HIV/AIDS programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will continue conducting regional training workshops and developing manuals.
The programme was created in 2002 in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. It specifically focuses on the establishment an HIV/AIDS regional training, education and research centre in Kingston.