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Project To Reduce HIV Prevalence Among At-Risk Groups Gets $492.25 Million

Project To Reduce HIV Prevalence Among At-Risk Groups Gets $492.25 Million
In this file photo, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Elaine Foster Allen (left), has the attention of (from 2nd left): Caribbean Regional Director for the AIDS Health Care Foundation, Dr. Kevin Harvey; Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye; and Regional Director for the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Ken-Garfield Douglas. Occasion was the handover of a new mobile HIV testing unit donated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Western Regional Health Authority. The presentation was made during the Ministry’s 26th Annual Review and Planning Retreat at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in St. James on November 16.
(Media Credit: Garwin Davis)

KINGSTON (JIS) -- The Government has allocated $492.25 million towards the HIV Prevalence in Most-at-Risk Population Reduced Project. This is contained in the 2017-18 Estimates of Expenditure now before the House of Representatives. Being implemented by the Ministry of Health, the project is funded by the Government of Jamaica and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The initiative seeks to increase safer sex practices and improve attitudes and behaviours among vulnerable high-risk groups; and reduce HIV transmission by delaying sexual initiation, promoting abstinence, and increasing condom use among sexually active adolescents. Other objectives include reducing the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS and finalising and disseminating the National HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy.

As of June 2016, 226 Men-who- have-sex-with-Men (MSM) received HIV testing and counselling services and received their test results; and 741 MSM were reached with individual and/or small group level HIV preventative interventions.

Also 348 Female Sex Workers (FSWs) received HIV testing and counselling services and received their test results; and 970 FSWs were reached with individual and/or small group level HIV preventative interventions.

In addition, 326 adults and children were enrolled in antiretroviral therapy; 7,669 adults and children began receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART); and 5,095 ART patients had a viral load result documented in the medical record within the past 12 months.

Some 6,815 HIV-positive adults and children received at least one of the following during the reporting period: clinical assessment; CD4 count to evaluate the immune system; or a viral load test, which measures the HIV virus particles in a millilitre of blood.

For the new fiscal year, the programme seeks to reach 634 MSM with individual and/or small group level HIV preventative interventions; reach 409 FSWs in small group interventions; return test result to at least 562 MSM and 368 FSWs, who did HIV testing and counselling.

Other plans include enrolling an additional 611 adults and children on antiretroviral therapy; and maintaining care of the 12,278 adults and children on antiretroviral therapy.