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$288 million for HIV/AIDS

Published:Monday | March 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Government is set to continue its drive to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Jamaica with a budgetary allocation of $288 million for the Jamaica HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control II project in 2010-2011.

With funding support from the World Bank, the project aims to curb the spread of HIV, improve treatment, care and support for persons living with HIV/AIDS and strengthen Jamaica's capacity to respond to the epidemic.

The Jamaica HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control II project was implemented in June 2008 and will continue to May 2012. Initial targets were to establish at least one outreach programme, with adequately trained peer educators for each high-risk group in every high-risk transmission area, as well as to have 70 per cent of health-care facilities at different levels of the public sector deliver appropriate care and Opportunistic Infection Management, according to national guidelines.

Among the targets set are to have the turnaround time for HIV testing reduced to no more than seven working days if negative, and 14 days if positive; to commence operation of the South East Regional Health Authority Medical Waste Plant and procurement of a similar plant for the Western Regional Health Authority; and to complete computerisation and networking for the National Public Health laboratory.

628 new condom outlets

Up to January this year, 628 new condom outlets had been established, 1.7 million male and female condoms distributed for free and over 1,700 service deliverers trained on HIV/AIDS prevention.

There have also been infrastructure upgrades to the National Public Health Laboratory, while 20 project ports have been transferred to the Ministry of Health's offices.

This financial year, the Ministry of Health hopes to reach at least one million persons through prevention outreach activities.

The ministry also plans to maintain HIV testing of 90 per cent of antenatal clinic attendees in the public sector, and provide antiretroviral drugs for prevention of mother-to-child transmission to 85 per cent of HIV infected pregnant women and at least 90 per cent of HIV-exposed infants.