Miami Herald Examines ‘Heartening’ News of Declines in HIV Prevalence in Some Caribbean Countries
The Miami Herald on Wednesday examined how the news from a recent report showing a decline in HIV prevalence in some parts of the Caribbean "is particularly heartening" because the region has had the highest prevalence outside of sub-Saharan Africa (Goldstein, Miami Herald, 11/23). According to the report, which was released on Monday by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, the overall number of HIV cases increased in every region of the world except the Caribbean last year. UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said declines in prevalence have occurred in Barbados, the Bahamas and Bermuda (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/21). According to the report, the region's HIV prevalence rate is 1.6%. Cuba's HIV prevalence rate, the lowest in the region, is below 0.2%. In Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, prevalence rates are over 1%, and rates in the Bahamas, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago are over 2%, according to the report. Haiti -- the country with the highest HIV prevalence rate in the Western hemisphere -- has shown the "most encouraging" decrease, with HIV prevalence declining from 5% to 3% since the 1990s, in part because of a reduction in the stigma associated with the virus, education programs, new clinics and international aid, the Herald reports. Improved care for HIV-positive pregnant women in the Bahamas, enhanced voluntary counseling and screening services in Barbados and increased condom use among commercial sex workers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, also appear to be contributing to the decline in prevalence. However, AIDS-related causes remain the leading cause of death among adults in the Caribbean (Miami Herald, 11/23).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.