JIS News

The Portland Health Department is reporting a reduction in diagnosed cases of HIV/AIDS in 2005 over the previous year.
Winston Lowe, Sexually Transmitted Diseases Contact Investigator for the Health Department, told JIS News that 45 cases were diagnosed last year, which were 17 less than the 62 cases detected in 2004. The reduction, he said, was consistent with the declining trends of other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhoea.
Mr. Lowe noted that while this was a welcome sign in the fight against HIV/AIDS, it did not necessarily mean that the incidence of the disease was reducing, as careful analyses had to be done to determine the cause of the reduction.
He observed however, that the lowering figures were indicative of a declining trend evident in the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS in the parish over the last three years, adding that the statistics relating to deaths resulting from the disease was also on the decline.
Pointing out that only one new case of the disease has been discovered in the parish since the start of this year, Mr. Lowe said there had been a marked improvement in the health of infected persons and a significant reduction in AIDS-related deaths in Portland since the Anti-Retroviral Treatment programme was introduced last year for the treatment of victims of the disease.
Emphasising that the Portland Health Department will continue with its programme of activities aimed at halting and eliminating the spread of the HIV/AIDS, Mr. Lowe said other encouraging signs were the fact that more people were voluntarily coming forward to have themselves tested for the disease, and collecting condoms distributed by the Portland Health Department.