The Caribbean HIV/AIDS Epidemic Epidemiological Status – Success Stories A Summary
The General Context
HIV/AIDS has become a major developmental problem affecting every country world-wide and the Caribbean region in particular where the epidemic is second in magnitude only to that in Sub- Saharan Africa. As the epidemic has spread throughout the Caribbean, the primary mode of sexual transmission has changed from being a homosexual one predominantly, to a mosaic of homo/bi and heterosexual epidemics (see fig. 1). The epidemic is also shifting to younger populations, in particular, young females. The major feature of the epidemic is the growing numbers of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and affected families, all of whom require care and support. The changing profile of the epidemic has already begun to impact dramatically, not only on the health sector, but also on the economic resources of the Region in terms of loss of human potential and productivity.
Size of the Problem:
The Caribbean has the highest incidence of reported AIDS cases in the Americas and world wide. With half million (500,000) Caribbean people living with HIV/AIDS, the region has an adult HIV prevalence rate second only to Africa (UNAIDS-2002 and CAREC-CDC Estimates of People Living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2001). Among the 12 territories with a generalised epidemic in the Caribbean, 10 of them are CAREC Member Countries (CMCs). The remaining two countries share the Hispaniola Island, the epicentre of the HIV epidemic in the Americas (see fig. 2).
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