Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to this Honourable House and the people of Jamaica on a day that this globally recognized as World AIDS Day. Today, we remember and salute persons, who would have died and to the many others, who are living with HIV.
Madam Speaker, the COVID-19 global pandemic has presented a myriad of challenges to the HIV/AIDS response on an international scale. It is heartening to see us coming together under the theme for World AIDS Day 2020 “Global Solidarity through our Shared Responsibility”.
Madam speaker, the Government of Jamaica’s response to HIV has continued to cater to the needs of vulnerable and key populations and persons living with HIV.
The support of the global community and the commitment of our local stakeholders has enabled our national programme to continue to offer services at all levels. We are extremely grateful for the support of our partners here in Jamaica and around the world.
Madam Speaker, the number of persons becoming newly HIV infected each year is too high. There were some 700 new cases diagnosed in Jamaica for 2019:
As many as 4,500 or 14% persons living with HIV in Jamaica are unaware of their status.
Madam Speaker, only 14,297 or 44% of those diagnosed are on antiretroviral treatment.
Only 66% of those on treatment are virally suppressed.
During this pandemic the National HIV Programme has continued to offer services, including the development of a response team with partners and our Civil Society Organizations to ensure that:
Supply chain is maintained
Prevention activities were implemented in a safe and respectful way to all populations
Service delivery was maintained within the country for persons living with HIV The continued provision of social services
Development of protocols to engage clients within this setting