CIG makes start on changes to local HIV policy

| 12/06/2014

(CNS): Government is working on changing its policy with regards education about and managing the treatment and care of those living with HIV. A two-day HIV/AIDS workshop was held last week at the hospital which included local medical professionals, government staff, NGO’s, and private sector groups facilitated by Nicola Taylor from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).  The goal of the workshop was to revise the existing policy in order to bring it in line with the international conventions and treaties, and to ensure its operational plans are developed to align with the local national health policy and plan. Currently there are 76 people living with HIV in Cayman.

In his opening remarks to the conference the health minister Osbourne Bodden said the low rates in Cayman may not paint a true picture of the prevalence of the illness.

“While our HIV and AIDS numbers remain low, we must be reminded that because of stigmatisation, many persons do not get tested and therefore this could result in under reporting,” he warned. “As of March 2014 there were a total of 117 reported cases of HIV since the first case was diagnosed in 1985, 68 of these developed AIDS with 41 AIDS related deaths,” he said as he revealed the current number of 76 people living with HIV locally.

Subjects discussed at the workshop included the epidemiology of HIV here in Cayman, care and treatment, as well as policy, legislation and a broad scope of related topics. The group also revisited recommendations from a report entitled: A Situation Analysis of HIV/STIs in the Cayman Islands 1985-2010. Ministry of Health Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn as well as the Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar and other stakeholders discussed the recommended changes to the existing policy and need to develop an operational plan for the HIV and AIDS programme. 

The Ministry and its stakeholders remain committed to reducing HIV vulnerability in the Cayman Islands and ensuring that the country utilises a rights-based approach in its treatment of HIV/AIDS patients.

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