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HIV in Jamaica - Historical Timeline

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HIV/AIDS became an issue in Jamaica in 1982 when its first case was reported. Currently, approximately 1.5 % of Jamaica's adult population live with HIV/AIDS. This represents about 22,000 people.

The numbers continue to increase island wide, with the parishes of St. James and Kingston and St. Andrew, being the most seriously affected. The disease is the second leading cause of death for children in the 1-4 age group.

The National HIV/AIDS/STI Control Programme, which falls under the Ministry of Health is working to curb the epidemic. The National Programme's priorities include:

  • Providing access to prevention education
  • Care, treatment and support for persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS
  • Policy, advocacy, legal and human rights for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS
  • Monitoring, surveillance and evaluation to track the success of our efforts to control the epidemic
  • Advocating for a strong multi-sectoral response to the epidemic

The National Programme facilitates the co-operation of the public and private sectors, as well as non-government organizations (NGOs) in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In addition to the Government of Jamaica's input, the programme has the support of international funding agencies such as UNAIDS, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), United Nations Global Programme on AIDS, PAHO/WHO, CAREC, UNFPA, and UNESCO. Most recently the national programme received a loan from the World Bank (IBRD), and a grant from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tubercolosis and Malaria.

The programme's approach emphasises community intervention and face-to face communication to increase awareness, reduce individual risk of HIV infection and reduce stigmatisation of persons living with HIV/AIDS and to promote safer sex practices. Through this approach, the National Programme has achieved a significant degree of success, particularly a high level of awareness and decline in the rates of Syphilis and other STIs. Increased condom availability and use also confirm the impact of the programme. One of its greatest challenges, however, is to have the population translate their awareness of safer sex into sustained behaviour change.

STD Control Program began 1930
ACOSTRAD Established 1970
First AIDS Case Reported 1982
AIDS Became Notifiable 1985
NAC Established 1988
National KAP Survey Conducted 1988/89/94/96
Medium Term Plan(s) Formulated
1st medium Term Plan 1989
2nd medium Term Plan 1993
3rd medium Term Plan 1997
STD Centres Strengthened Case
Manual Developed 1993
UNAIDS/TG Established 1995
Decentralization HIV/AIDS Program 1995
Strategic Plan Tabled in Parliament 1999
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