HIV Vaccine Brochures:
High Level Advocates call for
Greater Support around HIV/AIDS Control Issues
From left: Hon. Lascelles Chin, Novia
Condell, Michael Muirhead, Neville Moodie, Mayor
Andrew Wheatly and Vivian Gray
The Jamaican Delegation, which visited Thailand
for a HIV/AIDS Study Tour, is calling for greater
action and involvement by business, political and
civic leaders in all sectors to stem the spread
of HIV/AIDS in Jamaica.
The delegation comprised Hon. Lacelles Chin, OJ,
Chairman Lasco Group of Companies, Dr. Andrew Wheatley,
Mayor of Spanish Town; Mr. Michael Muirhead, Executive
Director of TPDCo; Mr. Neville Moodie, Director,
Occupational Health, Ministry of Labour and Social
Security; Ms. Novia Condell, Behaviour Change Communication
Officer, Ministry of Health and Mr. Vivian Gray,
Advocacy Officer, National AIDS Committee. The team
arrived in Thailand on March 5 and returned to the
island on March 16.
The two-week study tour aimed at exposing the delegates
to best practices in advocacy and policy implementation
which was a cornerstone of the successes experienced
in Thailand in reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The trip comprised of a number of meetings with
key individuals and organizations.
Lascelles Chin noted that the study tour served
to highlight the value of a comprehensive multi
sectoral response to HIV and AIDS. Against this
background, Mr. Chin is calling on business leaders
to take a more proactive role in the fight against
the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the related
stigma and discrimination.
"If every business leader says 'I will educate
my staff,' that will go a far way in clarifying
HIV issues and in reducing discrimination often
borne out of fear and ignorance."
Mr. Chin has also called for a more "broad-minded
approach" to making commercial sex work safer
for sex workers and their clients. He is also calling
for a revision of the health education curriculum
in schools in order to better enable young people
to practice safer sex.
"We need to stop sweeping it under the carpet
sex is an income earner."
Dr Andrew Wheatley, Mayor of Spanish Town pointed
out that in the case of Thailand, strong leadership
at the highest level of the Government created the
atmosphere for change that was necessary to reduce
the impact of the epidemic and bring about the subsequent
reduction in new HIV infections.
"Slowing down the spread of HIV in Thailand
was only possible when there was committed political
leadership around the issue," he said. The
Mayor has planned to undertake the task of heightening
HIV/AIDS awareness among his colleagues at the local
"These are the people on the ground in the
communities where stigma reduction is needed. We
must support interventions in our communities and
at every opportunity, encourage people to embrace
and accept those among us who may be infected."
Mayor Wheatley further stated that it is time for
political representatives to take charge. He noted
that local government officials were well placed
to facilitating the reverse of the epidemic.
"Local government representatives
the potential to impact positively because of their
intimate interaction with groups who may be at the
forefront of the epidemic in terms of being susceptible
to the epidemic."
Meanwhile, Michael Muirhead, Executive Director
of the Tourism Product Development Company, has
described his experience on the study tour as "eye-opening
and earth shattering."
Mr. Muirhead said he has returned knowing that
he has to be an advocate.
"Halting the spread o f HIV/AIDS must be seen
as one of Jamaica's development goals. It is for
this reason that the tourism industry must undertake
HIV/AIDS interventions targeting tourists and workers
in the sector."
Each advocate has developed a plan of action for
their respective sectors. They are aimed at increasing
the involvement from stakeholders in the fight against
the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Jamaica HIV/AIDS Epidemic Update - 2004
In Jamaica, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has created a
great burden for communities, families and individuals.
In addressing this burden, there is need for improved
access to care and treatment, more targeted approaches
in prevention and a reduction in the stigma and
discrimination that Persons Living with HIV/AIDS
(PLWHA) and their loved ones face.
An average of one thousand AIDS cases is being
reported to The Ministry of Health annually.
The Ministry of Health's AIDS Report for the period
January to December 2003 shows that one thousand
and seventy (1070) new cases of AIDS were reported
to the Ministry of Health, compared with nine hundred
and eighty nine (989) in 2002, representing a marginal
increase of 8.2%.
Fifty seven percent (57%) or 611 cases were male
and forty three percent (43%) or 459 cases were
This brings the cumulative total of AIDS cases
to eight thousand and ninety seven (8097) since
the beginning of the epidemic in 1982. It is estimated
that there are 22,000 people living with HIV/AIDS
In 2003 there were 67 new cases of AIDS among children
down from 81 new pediatric AIDS cases in 2002, representing
a decline of 17%. This decline can be attributed
to the Prevention of Mother to Child (PMTCT) Programme.
Fewer pediatric AIDS deaths were reported to the
Ministry in 2003. Last year, twenty-nine (29) children
were reported to have died of AIDS compared with
45 pediatric deaths in 2002. This represents a decline
Kingston and St. Andrew remains the parish with
the highest number of AIDS cases. However, the parishes
of St. James, St. Ann, Hanover and St. Catherine
have reported increases of more than 10% in the
number of AIDS cases than for the previous year.
The National HIV/STI Control Programme continues
to spearhead efforts to mitigate the impact of this
disease. Last year approximately $174 million was
spent to finance the fight against AIDS in Jamaica.
Prevention programmes have been scaled up to maintain
the high awareness of HIV/AIDS among Jamaicans as
well as to increase the capacity of individuals
to accurately assess their risk for HIV infection
and take the necessary steps to protect themselves.
Last year, some 1.6 million condoms were procured
and distributed by the National Programme.
Through the HIV/AIDS Demand Driven Sub-projects
(HADDS) fund over seven million dollars has been
committed to finance prevention and treatment and
care projects proposed by non-governmental organizations
including community and faith-based organizations.
The National Programme has also been working to
strengthen the island's capacity to effectively
deal with the epidemic. Through training of healthcare
workers, our partners from other public sector entities,
private sector members and various Non-governmental
Through assistance from the Global Fund to fight
AIDS, Malaria and Tubercolosis, the National Programme
is moving to increase access to treatment for infected
As we grapple with the reality of HIV/AIDS, we
implore Jamaicans to strive to be kinder to those
infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Reducing the
stigma and discrimination that surrounds the disease
will make it easier for infected persons to live
longer, more productive lives.
AIDS does not discriminate. It does not recognize
social class, lifestyle or occupation. Anyone, as
long as they are having sex, can become infected.
Therefore, it is imperative that individuals recognize
that they must reduce their risk for infection.
Our young people must be reminded of their option
to abstain from sex and strongly encouraged to make
that choice. All sexually active persons must use
a condom everytime they have sex.
Released June 10, 2004 by the
National HIV/AIDS Control Programme
Ministry of Health
AIDS/STD Helpline (876)967-3830, 967-3764
Toll Free 1-888-991-4444
Click the links below to view the corresponding
AIDS Report - Jan. - June 2004
AIDS Report - Jan. - Dec 2003
AIDS Report - Jan. - June 2003
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