GEORGETOWN, Guyana, April 13, CMC – Caribbean health officials meet here next week to examine the findings of two studies to ascertain the quantity and quality of available gender specific HIV services for key populations in the region.
The studies were commissioned by the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) and will be discussed at the second meeting of the Technical Working Group on Prevention from April 16-17.
PANCAP is a regional partnership established by CARICOM Heads of Government in 2001 to respond to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean. The prevention of HIV Infection is the main priority of the partnership.
According to the one of the studies, “sexual and reproductive health and HIV services provided to most at-risk populations across the region is not nationally led or driven and governments appear to have no clear strategy for responding to the needs of this population”.
The two-day meeting is expected to formulate practical, workable solutions for achieving the HIV Prevention Millennium Development Goal of halving new HIV infections among vulnerable populations by 2015.
According to UNAIDS, the Caribbean can only achieve the target ‘Reaching to Zero’, by implementing more evidence-informed, sustainable and cost effective prevention interventions. Research has shown that there exists an inequity in strategies to adequately address programming for most at risk populations. These populations have reported that mainstream services neither have the capacity nor resources to meet their needs.
“Among the expected outputs are recommendations to address the key areas of prevention namely, consistency across partners, resource mobilization, mobility of key populations and involvement of the most vulnerable in HIV programming and strategies,” the organisers of the conference said in a statement.