State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, has hailed the work and partnership of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) in the national HIV/AIDS response.
Speaking at the JASL’s public forum held on Tuesday (November 30) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, the State Minister said that the organisation has provided 30 years of service to Jamaicans living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, “ensuring that human rights and dignity are preserved, while providing the path to treatment and care services”.
“In this regard, the Ministry of Health and Wellness is pleased to continue this significant partnership as part of ongoing efforts to stem the HIV epidemic,” she added.
The State Minister noted that the Ministry is committed to providing universal access to healthcare for all persons living with HIV (PLHIV) in Jamaica.
She said that Jamaica’s treatment cascade up to the end of September 2021, indicates that 86 per cent of the estimated number of PLHIV know their status. In addition, 51 per cent of those diagnosed are retained in care on antiretrovirals (ARVs), and 74 per cent retained on ARVs are virally suppressed.
The State Minister said that through collaborations with international and local partners within the public and private sectors, the Ministry is continuously seeking to improve the standard of care, which includes medical, social, psychological and peer support.
“Civil societies like Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) have been a part of this journey,” she noted.
She said that the JASL’s provision of access to treatment and prevention services to all PLHIV is commendable, especially with regard to “key and vulnerable populations”. and the work takes on even greater significance given the need to provide and maintain service during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Of note, the JASL has recognised the importance of providing psychosocial support to PLHIV… and has expanded their cadre of staff. This growth is being furthered in other spheres, most notably with the opening of the JASL Life’s Work Pharmacy where PLHIV will be able to access antiretroviral medication,” the State Minister said.