Caribbean commits to 75 percent reduction in new HIV infections by 2020

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 27, CMC – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says Caribbean and Latin American countries have set new regional targets for 2020 aimed at reducing by 75 percent new HIV infections in adults and young people by 2020.

During the second Latin American and Caribbean Forum on the HIV Continuum of Care––“Improving Combination HIV Prevention to Strengthen the Continuum of Prevention and Care”, PAHO said the region also agreed to “guarantee a coordinated and comprehensive approach to HIV prevention, and achieve an environment of zero stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and the populations most affected by the epidemic.”

These targets also include access to combination HIV prevention packages for 90 percent of transsexuals, gay men and other men who have sex with men, and sex workers by 2020.

PAHO said another goal is to remove legislation that can be used to discriminate against people living with or affected by HIV.

According to the Health Organisation, the most vulnerable populations in the region include gay men and other men who have sex with men, transsexual women, sex workers and their clients, drug users, young adults and adolescents, women and children, incarcerated people, transient populations, indigenous and Afro-descendant populations, homeless people, and female victims of violence.

The targets were agreed to “ending the AIDS epidemic involves ending the epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.

It is estimated that around two million people are living with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean and that in 2014 there were about 100,000 new HIV infections in the region.

PAHO said representatives of the countries agreed on the need to advance quickly in reducing new infections and taking effective prevention programs to the populations and places most affected by the epidemic.

Participants at the forum included more than 150 representatives of the region’s HIV/AIDS programs, civil society networks and organizations, key populations and those most affected by the epidemic, people living with HIV, academic and scientific communities, programs, United Nations agencies, international organizations, and bilateral cooperation agencies.

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