Findings of UNGASS Indicators: A summary
During the last UNGASS reporting period, the male to female ratio was 1.2:1 but this has increased during this reporting period to 1.6:1, with more males having access to VCT as is the case with women through the PMTCT programmes. The country reported on 10 UNGASS indicators among the 23 relevant ones; this represents 43% completeness. The 2010 NASA information indicates that USD 4.2 million was spent on AIDS with only 10% coming from national resources. There was no breakdown of spending by strategy.
Overall, there is a push to improve workplace policies and promote more inclusive testing policies. However, as in other small settings, laws exist that are discriminatory towards same sex relationships and sex work. Blood safety is secured and there were 162 PLHIV on ART, and 14 HIV-positive pregnant women received a full course of ART to reduce MTCT transmission of HIV.
However, there was a decline in treatment of TB/HIV co-infection from 100% in 2007 to 27% in 2009. All schools are providing life-skills HIV education and all orphans are attending school. There is a high HIV prevalence of 2.5% among young people; this needs urgent attention. The quality of care has improved but further improvement is needed. In 2007, only 62% of PLHIV were still on ART after 12 months and now this has increased to 86%. There is a need for new data about knowledge, behaviours, practices and beliefs among the general population and vulnerable groups.
Key Issues Requiring Focus
- Focus national effort on men, especially men who have sex with men, sex workers, young people and women and girls.
- Gather and use updated strategic information to guide the national response to HIV (epidemiological and behavioural).
- Improve quality of care of PLHIV, especially the treatment of TB/HIV co-infections.
- Mobilise more national resources to respond to HIV and ensure sustainability.
- Remove discriminatory laws against same sex relationships and sex work.
National AIDS Programme Coordinator
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
WHAT IS THE AIDS SITUATION IN YOUR COUNTRY?
Twenty-four years after the first case of HIV was diagnosed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the HIV prevalence among women attending antennal clinics is over 1%.
There has been a 37% decrease in reported HIV cases between 2004 and 2008 and a 40% decrease in AIDS-related deaths during the same period. The male to female ratio of HIV has, over the past 20 years, been decreasing from a high of 4.5:1 in 1987 to 1.4:1 in 2008.
The majority of male HIV cases have occurred within the ages of 20-49 years while female cases have occurred within the ages of 20-39 years.
TELL US WHAT IS THE BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR AIDS PROGRAMME?
Over the past five years, the following have been the most outstanding achievements: voluntary counselling and testing through HIV rapid testing; PMTCT whereas in 2009, 98% of all pregnant women were tested for HIV, within the past two years there have been no cases of children infected; and care and treatment where over 300 PLHIV are enrolled, with 177 on ART.
WHAT ARE THE SUCCESSES IN RESPONDING TO AIDS IN YOUR COUNTRY?
The national response is led by a National AIDS Council and its Secretariat, co-chaired by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health and the Environment, resulting in the establishment of focal points in nine non-health line ministries with work plans and a number of CSOs actively contributing to the national response.
WHICH KEY POPULATION GROUPS WILL YOU KEEP THE FOCUS ON IN THE FUTURE?
Three population groups are to be the focus: youth, men who have sex with men and young adults in the low economic bracket.