Wife of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Lorna Golding, yesterday called on international donors to extend their support to make the Caribbean the first region in the world to eliminate new HIV infections in children.
Speaking at the First Spouses meeting held as part of the June 8-10 United Nations 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York, she pledged to promote and advance action to eliminate new HIV inactions in children by 2015.
She noted that Jamaica has achieved marked success in reducing mother-to-child infections from 25 per cent in 2002 to the less than five per cent, currently.
“This great accomplishment will not be sustained without renewed partnership from our donors. Notwithstanding the advances we have made, we must not become complacent. It only takes a few years for a country like Jamaica to move from single to double-digit prevalence. We must reinforce our solidarity for the cause,” Mrs. Golding stated.
She urged the wives of heads of government at the meeting to highlight the attention that must be paid to females.
“It must be acknowledged that the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS is one of the reasons pregnant women opt out of testing, or don’t access public health services until very late stages of their pregnancies…we cannot miss the lessons that this disease is trying to teach us.
“For my part, I will continue to work to ensure that that there is an end to the stigma and discrimination plaguing Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS response. This is my commitment and this will be my role in the mission,” she said.
She mentioned the leading support being given by Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, to reduce AIDS infections, with the recent signing of the Declaration of Commitment to Eliminate Stigma, Discrimination and Gender Inequality affecting Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Response, which was also endorsed by the Leader of the Opposition.