AVS Online Editorial, Friday, October 29 to Thursday, November 4, 2010
The recently concluded Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) 10th Annual General Meeting, held at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, has placed the island on the regional and international stage.
The momentum is there. Organizers and delegates have described the country as a magnificent host that organized a first class event. Another first is that it was the first time that such a conference was held in a Dutch territory.
Our country hosted a number of regional prime ministers and other members at a cabinet level, the Deputy Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Edward Greene as well as regional and international officials and organizations. Another top diplomat was former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Sint Maarten’s HIV/AIDS Programme Manager Suzette Moses-Burton, is already working on the issue of our country being able to tap PANCAP technical and financial resources in its fight against AIDS.
All in all, PANCAP has been a win-win for the island and the AVS News Team would like to congratulate our local and regional organizers for a job well done.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 60 million people have been infected with HIV and 25 million people have died of HIV-related causes.
There are more than 33 million people living with HIV; 2.7 million new infections each year; and two million AIDS-related deaths annually.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most affected and is home to 67 per cent of all people living with HIV worldwide and 91 per cent of all new infections among children.
The Caribbean has been more heavily affected by HIV than any other region outside sub-Saharan Africa and has the second highest level of adult HIV prevalence. The Caribbean has a mix of generalized and concentrated epidemics. Women account for about half of all infections in the Caribbean. HIV prevalence is especially high among young women.
The Caribbean has an estimated quarter of a million people living with HIV, while an estimated 20,000 people were newly infected and some 12,000 die of AIDS-related illnesses annually.
Mrs. Moses-Burton mentioned to the media that since the conference she has received a number of calls from persons in the community who had expressed interest in joining the fight against HIV and AIDS on the island.
We most welcome that support and we appeal to all members of our community to also contribute in one way or the other