HIV :: Government Of Jamaica And World Bank Plan New HIV AIDS Initiative

The World Bank today announced it will work with Jamaican authorities to prepare a Second HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Project based on the current program?s successful performance and ratings.

?HIV/AIDS remains a serious threat to the Caribbean region said,? Caroline Anstey, Country Director for the Caribbean. ?With a follow-on project we will continue supporting the government?s efforts to control HIV in Jamaica and provide vital services to people living with HIV/AIDS.?

The main objective of the current project is to support the Government of Jamaica?s efforts to reverse the spread of HIV and mitigate the socio-economic impact of AIDS. To date, approximately US$9 million has been disbursed with the remaining US$1.6 million expected to be spent according to the project?s implementation schedule. The current project will close in May 2008.

?All project activities and disbursements are on schedule based on the timeline agreed upon between the Government of Jamaica and the World Bank,? said Dr. Kevin Harvey, Senior Medical Officer for the National HIV/STI programme in the Jamaican Ministry of Health. ?With the new project under negotiation, we will be able to have more resources and increase our capacity to deal with the HIV/AIDS challenge.?

The current project seeks to:

a) reduce HIV transmission, especially by targeting high-risk groups and reducing stigma;

b) improve treatment, care and support for those infected with the virus; and

c) strengthen the national capacity to respond to the epidemic.

Among others, major achievements of the current project include:

Adoption of the National HIV/AIDS Policy approved by Cabinet (2004) and Parliament (2005); the National HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy approved by Cabinet in March 2007; the National Policy for HIV/AIDS Management in Schools; and other sector policies (Labour and Tourism)

Implementation of the HIV/AIDS workplace program in the critical sectors of education, tourism and labour.

Drug treatment and care for managing opportunistic infections in persons living with HIV/AIDS; strengthened capacity of the National Public Health Laboratory, and training for its staff.

Reduction of mother to child transmission to 10%.

HIV counseling and testing Programs for High Risk Groups including STI clinic attendees, Commercial Sex Workers (CSW), and men who have sex with men (MSM).

HIV prevention education reaching approximately 450,000 persons per year through outreach and training interventions conducted by peer educators in communities, schools, workplaces, prisons and health facilities.

Significant increase in condom access via establishment of condom outlets including condom machines.

The follow on Project will assist in consolidating these gains and develop programs to meet identified gaps.

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