JIS News

The success of the National HIV/AIDS/STI Control Programme has resulted in a decrease in the number of AIDS-related deaths, with 514 deaths in 2005 compared to 665 in 2004.
“This is a 23 per cent reduction in deaths and based on data for the first half of 2006, deaths were further reduced by another 36 per cent,” said Health Minister, Horace Dalley, in his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (June 19).
He informed that a total of 2,800 adults and 300 children are receiving anti-retroviral drugs (ARV) in the public sector. Pregnant women and children receive the drugs free of cost.
The Minister informed that through partnership with the National Health Fund and Health Corporation Limited, adequate supplies of ARV drugs are provided on a sustained basis, while there is close monitoring of the medication provided to patients.
There are an estimated 25,000 Jamaicans living with HIV and the total number of reported AIDS cases in Jamaica between January 1982 and June 2006 is 6,437.
The most urbanised parishes continue to have the highest cumulative number of AIDS cases, with Kingston and St. Andrew having 885 cases per 100,000 persons and St. James having 930 cases per 100,000 persons.
The main risk factors fuelling the HIV/AIDS epidemic are multiple sex partners, a history of sexually transmitted diseases, crack/cocaine use, and sex with prostitutes.
“HIV affects families in a deep social, economical and emotional way. When the adult breadwinner in a family suffers and dies from HIV/AIDS, the entire family suffers and is more prone to living in poverty,” Mr. Dalley pointed out.
The National HIV/AIDS/STI Control Programme, which is headed by Dr. Peter Figueroa, is recognized internationally as one of the strongest programmes world wide. The main components of the programme are treatment, prevention, policy, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation.

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