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More Needs To Be Done To Sustain Region’s Response To HIV/AIDS – Minister Henry

At the recently held two-day Joint Regional Dialogue forum in Trinidad and Tobago, Chairperson of the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) Regional Coordinating Mechanism, Minister of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry highlighted that more still needs to be done in order to sustain the response and gains made in the region in the fight against AIDS.
In her address, Minister Henry said that to ensure sustainability of efforts for the regional response for ending AIDS, many countries in the region have to do much more to make AIDS and Health a financial priority.
Further, she said that sustainability is not just about resources but about ensuring that resources are the most effective based on science, epidemiology and targeting those most in need.
The theme for the forum was ““How can parliamentarians, faith leaders, civil society leaders, national AIDS programme managers and youth leaders work together to end AIDS”. Minister Henry said that the dialogue has brought together personnel highlighted in the theme and it is an embodiment of collaboration and commitment to achieve the internationally agreed target for ending AIDS at national and regional levels.

Seated are: Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy [fifth from left]; Minister Nicolette Henry [sixth from left] and Minister Karen Cummings [seventh from left] with participants of the Joint Regional Dialogue

During the two-day forum, the participants would have used the occasion to collectively examine many challenges being faced. Among these challenges, Minister Henry said is the annual number of new infections among adults across the Caribbean which has remained static for the last six years at an estimated 17,000 as reported in 2016.
“Also, 1/3 or 33% or there about of our Caribbean people who are living with HIV on treatment, were not virally suppressed as of 2016.
Also, retaining people on treatment has proven challenging for most countries in the region. Notably, of all people living with HIV in the Caribbean, 36% were unaware of their status in 2016; and of course late diagnosis is still a challenge, particularly for men,” Minister Henry noted.
Addressing the objectives of the forum, Minister Henry said that she believes all those in attendance have worked in some way to develop partnership within and among their various constituencies. Minister Henry congratulated all participants on their efforts, for being champions of Human Rights and for advocating and taking a stance against stigma, discrimination and intolerance.
Opposition Parliamentarian Dr. Frank Anthony seated with participants during the forum

“Congratulations colleague Parliamentarians, friends and colleagues for keeping up the fight, and most of all congratulations for your persistence towards ending AIDS by 2030.”
Also representing Guyana at the forum were Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings and Opposition Parliamentarian, Dr. Frank Anthony.

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