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Grenadian Prime Minister Calls For Continued Investment In Caribbean HIV/AIDS Programs

During the 9th annual general meeting of the Pan Caribbean Partnership on HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) – which kicked off this week in St. George’s, Grenada – Grenadian Prime Minister Tillman Thomas called on leaders in the Caribbean to maintain their commitment to HIV/AIDS in the face of the global recession, CMC/Jamaica Observer reports. “In all probability, the already tenuous HIV and AIDS situation will be exacerbated by the global financial crisis that has placed a virtual stranglehold on the economies of both the developed and developing world, although with more dire consequences for the latter,” Thomas said. “[T]he people of the Caribbean need to seize the moment to reach deep within … and find the resilience to rise above the challenges,” he said.

“AIDS remains one of the leading causes of death among people aged 25 to 44 years in the Caribbean, but according to PANCAP, the scaling up of antiretroviral treatment could be reducing the numbers of HIV-positive people progressing to AIDS and eventually dying of AIDS-related illnesses,” the newspaper writes (10/30).

The three-day meeting, titled “Towards Universal Access: Enhancing the Multi-sectoral Response to HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean” and ends Friday, is the “largest-ever convened in the eight-year existence of PANCAP,” according to Caribbean Net News.

During the opening ceremony of the meeting, representatives from the Caribbean and U.S. signed the “second Partnership Framework Agreement for the Caribbean under the United States President’s Emergency Plan for HIV and AIDS (PEPFAR),” the news service writes. “The Framework will see 12 Caribbean countries benefitting from approximately US$100 million over the next five years for regional and national efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS” (10/30).