The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in the Caribbean, Dr. John Edward Greene, and Latin America and Caribbean Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Dr. César Núñez, visit Jamaica from April 4th to 5th, 2016.
Over two days the pair will meet with Government, civil society and other development partners to discuss the country’s progress towards ending AIDS as a public health threat as well as Jamaica’s role in the High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, scheduled for June 8th to 10th in New York.
The High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS
The 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS is organised by the United Nations General Assembly. This year’s meeting will focus the world’s attention on the importance of a Fast-Track approach to the AIDS response over the next five years. The UNAIDS Fast-Track approach aims to achieve ambitious targets by 2020, including:
- Fewer than 500 000 people newly infected with HIV.
- Fewer than 500 000 people dying from AIDS-related causes.
- Elimination of HIV-related discrimination.
Ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat will require global solidarity and partnership, especially in times of diverse and demanding challenges. Focus must remain strong and commitment to leaving no one behind and building a more sustainable world by 2030 must continue to be unwavering.
Jamaica has long played a key role in shaping the regional response to HIV and has attained significant progress. According to Ministry of Health data, since 2000 new infections have decreased by 50%. In the last decade Jamaica achieved a 46% decline in AIDS-related deaths. Also over the last ten years the rate of HIV transmission from mothers to their babies fell from 10% to under 2%. Currently seven in ten people living with HIV in the country know their status (72%).
During their two-day visit Mr. Greene and Mr. Núñez are scheduled to meet with the Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Mrs. Kamina Johnson Smith; Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck; Executive Director of the National Family Planning Board, Dr. Denise Chevannes-Vogel and Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Mr. Colin Bullock. They will also meet with civil society and faith-based leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges as it relates to scaling up prevention, treatment and care services for people living with HIV and other key populations in Jamaica.