Caribbean Reduces Rate Of Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission; Officials Express Concern Over Possible Funding Reductions

“[T]he Caribbean is on the verge of becoming the first region in the world to eliminate” mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015, the Christian Science Monitor reports, noting that “thanks to an influx of foreign funding, [the region] has led the world in the reduction of deaths from the disease and in cutting the spread of infection.” According to the newspaper, “The Caribbean’s success has been achieved through an expansion of treatment to patients, who are now offered universal access to antiretroviral drugs in some countries. The islands have also made testing free and easy for much of the population.”

However, “[s]ome are concerned that the success is set to be challenged as international funding dries up and nations reduce foreign aid amid global economic uncertainty,” though “[a] few major donors, including [PEPFAR] and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, remain committed to the Caribbean, officials said,” the newspaper writes. The article includes comments from Luis Ernesto Feliz Báez, who oversees the Dominican Republic’s response to HIV/AIDS; Michel de Groulard, regional program adviser for UNAIDS in the Caribbean; Ruth Ayarza, Latin America and Caribbean regional manager for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance; and Dereck Springer, director of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS coordinating unit in Guyana (Fieser, 10/9).