Wednesday, 23 July 2014

HIV higher among young Caribbean women

A new report by UNAIDS shows that the HIV prevalence in the Caribbean is notably higher among young women, especially those aged 20-24 years.

“For example, prevalence in Haiti among young women aged 15-19 years is 0.5 per cent, more than double the figure for young men of the same age. Women aged 20-24 are three times more likely to be HIV-positive than men of the same age.”

Giving a snapshot of HIV burden on the region, the UNAIDS Gap Report which was released recently, revealed that there are an estimated 250 000 adults and children living with HIV in the Caribbean.

Five countries account for 96 per cent of all people living with HIV in the region: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

AIDS-related deaths

In 2013, there were an estimated 10 808 AIDS-related deaths in the Caribbean, the report stated.

“In keeping with HIV prevalence in the region, AIDS-related deaths were highly concentrated with 98 per cent occurring in five countries – the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Haiti alone accounted for 59  per cent of all AIDS-related in the region.”

Between 2005 and 2013, AIDS-related deaths halved. However, it was noted that these gains were limited to only a few countries.

“The Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica all recorded significant declines in the number of deaths due to AIDS. In the Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, however, there was no decrease in the number of people dying from AIDS-related causes.”

As it relates to the uptake of antiretroviral therapy by people living with HIV eligible for treatment in the region, this increased from 12 per cent to 43 per cent between 2005 and 2013 (seven countries reporting).

“Barbados and Cuba have the highest treatment coverage, 64 per cent and 60 per cent respectively, Haiti and Dominican Republic, with the greatest burden of disease in the region, increased coverage 14 – and 11 – fold, respectively, to 41 per cent and 49 per cent.” (TL)

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