Health Ministry to engage UN after report claims HIV infections increasing in Jamaica
The Ministry of Health is to initiate dialogue with United Nations (UN) representatives in light of a report by its Special Envoy on HIV to the Caribbean which claims that HIV infections are increasing at an alarming rate in Jamaica.
Head of the National HIV/STI Programme in the Ministry of Health, Dr Nicola Skyers, insists that HIV infections are on the decline in Jamaica, based on data collected and analysed by the Health Ministry.
Dr Skyers explains that the report by the UN Special Envoy, Dr Edward Greene, was prepared using preliminary estimates used in the data collection process and does not accurately reflect the results of the final analysis.
The head of the National HIV/STI Programme admits that the report by Dr Greene has put the country in a negative light and says the health ministry will be moving to engage external agencies like the UN before preparation of any report.
Dr Skyers has also dismissed any suggestion that HIV infections among older persons are on the increase in Jamaica.
Speaking at the recent Regional Testing Day 10th Anniversary Caribbean Launch Breakfast and Awards in Bridgetown, Barbados, Dr Greene revealed that Jamaica and Cuba are among the two countries in the Caribbean which have seen major increases in HIV infections.
He said after 10 years of decline in the prevalence rate, the Caribbean overall has experienced a nine percent increase in new HIV infections.
Dr Greene said further the infection rates have increased among older groups within the population, while progress in stopping new infections has also stalled among adults.