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The National HIV/STI Programme will be working to strengthen the current national response to HIV, by implementing strategies to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment care and support, Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer has said.
Making his presentation in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House, yesterday (June 3), the Health Minister informed that the strategies included the “implementation of a National HIV Policy approved by Parliament in 2005, with increased lobbying for law reform.”
Additionally, the Minister noted that other plans involved the expansion of multi-sectoral response through the National AIDS Committee, the partnership arm of the National HIV/STI Programme, as well as the expansion of the national monitoring and evaluation system to include all partners.
The development and implementation of HIV sector and workplace policies; sensitization and identification of advocates among high-level leadership; scaling up of prevention services, including interventions for persons most at risk for HIV infection, targeted community interventions and social marketing, are other measures to be put in place by the programme.
The Minister informed that there are plans to “increase access to prevention services for adolescents by development and implementation of a revised Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) curriculum that increases knowledge and skills that support risk reduction; the expansion of HIV testing programmes to ensure early diagnosis of HIV infection, appropriate timing of treatment and access to positive prevention and the scaling up of access to treatment for Persons Living With HIV and ensuring that services are of a high quality.”
It has been found that persistent behavioural, social and cultural factors continue to fuel the epidemic in high risk groups. High rates of multiple sex partners among men, increased transactional sex and the early age of an individual’s first sexual experience, also contribute to the further spread of HIV. In addition, increasing poverty, population dynamics, and well established gender roles in which men are sexual decision makers, drive some of these behaviours.
The National Programme is geared at the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It advocates for and co-ordinates the input of all sectors of the Jamaican society, including the private and public sectors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

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