Antigua & Barbuda Represented at Regional HIV Conference

| November 23, 2011

An Antiguan delegation is among an approximate 2,500 participants at the four-day 2011 Caribbean HIV Conference in Nassau, Bahamas, which opened Friday.

Programme Officer in the Directorate of Gender Affairs Craig Rijkaard, AIDS Programme Director Delcora Williams, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Edson Joseph, the former head of Health and Family Life Education, Maureen Lewis, and Reverend Dr Kingsley Lewis are in attendance.

The outgoing AIDS Clinical Care Co-ordinator Sir Dr Prince Ramsey is also in The Bahamas.

The theme of the conference is “Strengthening Evidence to Achieve Sustainable Action.” Pre-meeting communiqué states that the session will sharpen the focus on HIV in the Caribbean, which has the world’s second highest adult HIV prevalence.

“In 2008, approximately 240,000 people in the region were living with HIV, 20,000 new infections occurred, and 12,000 deaths resulted from AIDS-related illnesses,” the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS Caribbean Factsheet: Latest epidemiological trends, 2009 notes.

The conference will highlight scientific research findings, implementation lessons learned, skills-building tools, and networking opportunities. The audience for the conference includes individuals living or working in the Caribbean,” publicity for the event noted

The meeting will seek to build on the two previous HIV conferences that countries of the Caribbean held, in 2000 and 2004.

The aims of the current session are listed as to build on the previous conferences, improve regional responses to HIV, strengthen research capacity, and enhance regional efforts to work collaboratively to preventing the spread of HIV and the impact on the economic, health and social status of the region.


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