6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Where we are

Measuring achievement of this Goal has been particularly difficult because of the continued gap in information regarding those at risk for HIV infection.  While the general outlook is that the HIV epidemic has shown signs of stabilizing in the Caribbean, the growing concern is that it continues to increase amongst vulnerable or high risk groups, which have been identified as: men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers, prisoners, persons living with HIV, and migrants and/or mobile populations. There are a number of trends in the epidemic in the Caribbean that are of special concern. One of them is the impact among women and, more specifically, the significant impact on young women.

What limited data exist suggest that the level of condom use is relatively low. However, indications are that, with the introduction of the model condom policy by the CARICOM Pan-Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS, condoms are being given the attention they deserve, as a cost-efficient and -effective means of securing sexual and reproductive health for all.

The number of young persons with comprehensive and correct knowledge of HIV and AIDS is increasing in the Caribbean, which is attributed, in part, to the proliferation of media and other campaigns at both national and subregional levels. However, although Caribbean youth are generally very knowledgeable regarding HIV and AIDS and how it may be prevented, this awareness does not necessarily lead to the practice of safe sex.

Significant progress is evident in the Caribbean subregion with respect to the efforts to increase access to prevention, treatment and antiretroviral drugs. However, these efforts are often stymied by entrenched social norms, beliefs and legal policy barriers, which create highly stigmatized environments where discrimination, homophobia and violence against certain groups thrive, preventing further progress in decreasing the transmission and incidence of HIV.

Caribbean countries have been relatively successful in dealing with malaria, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases.  The more pressing issue— which is not covered in the Millennium Development Goals targets — is that of non-communicable diseases, which continue to pose a greater and increasing threat to health and longevity in the subregion.

Source: Caribbean Millennium Development Goals Report 2010

Targets for MDG6
  1. Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    • HIV prevalence among population aged 15-24 years
    • Condom use at last high-risk sex
    • Proportion of population aged 15-24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS
    • Ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10-14 years
  2. Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
    • Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs