Since 1988, World AIDS Day has been observed annually on December 1. The observance provides an opportunity for people to assist in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and to remember those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 70 million people have been infected with HIV and about 35 million people have died of the virus. Internationally, 30.8 – 42.9 million people were living with HIV up to July 2017. In Jamaica, based on surveillance data, it is estimated that 30,000 persons are currently living with HIV.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), if not treated. Scientific evidence shows that early rather than delayed treatment results in better clinical outcomes for persons living with HIV.
Most commonly, HIV is transmitted from a person who has the virus through:
• Sexual intercourse
• Shared needle or syringe use
• Certain body fluids – blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk
The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Jamaica continues to engage in activities to manage or combat the disease. Some of these activities are:
• Public education
• Increase in national HIV testing
• Public access to antiretroviral treatment
Additionally, the Ministry recommends that persons who are diagnosed HIV positive be offered treatment free of cost.
For more information, please contact the:
Ministry of Health
10-16 Grenada Way
Tel: 876-633-8172 or 876-633-7771