Significant C’bean participation for UNHLM
More than 50 persons from the Caribbean, including heads of government, ministers of health and foreign affairs, will be attending a United Nations High Level Meeting (UNHLM) on HIV and AIDS from June 8-10.
The meeting to be held at UN headquarters in New York is supposed to provide an opportunity for promoting the continued engagement of leaders in a global response to HIV and AIDS. Delegates will also review progress made since the UN’s 2001 Declaration of Commitment and the 2006 political declaration on the illness.
According to a media release from the Caricom Secretariat, those from the region also attending the conference will be persons involved in civil society organizations that deal with issues relating to HIV and AIDS.
At that meeting the Caribbean delegates will be concerned with a review of a 2010 Declaration of St Maarten in which a Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) was formed, and where this grouping resolved to place universal access to prevention, resolved to place care and treatment at the centre of its programme; to eliminate mother to child transmission by 2015; increase access to care by 80 percent; reduce infections by 50 per cent; and accelerate the agenda to achieve human rights for People Living with HIV, including eliminating travel restrictions.
For Caricom and PANCAP the Declaration of St Maarten, the eight priorities of the Caribbean Strategic Framework lasting 2008 to 2012 and the UNAIDS outcome document from the Global Task Team on the Elimination of Mother-to-child transmission and keeping mothers and children alive are guiding principles for action.
The Caricom release stated that in recognition that human rights for all and particularly for vulnerable communities are fundamental to having an impact on the epidemic, a recent PANCAP/UNAIDS brief called on governments to place emphasis on protecting and promoting human rights as a proven effective means to advance public health.
The brief draws attention to recent modes of transmission data, which highlight that some key populations, particularly Men who have sex with Men (MSM) and sex workers/clients are significant parts of the epidemic in some countries in the region. It points out that these populations, which also include transgender people, people who use drugs, prisoners, people affected by humanitarian emergencies, vulnerable migrants and substance abusers, suffer from very elevated risk and infection in specific contexts. In these contexts, from a public health perspective, these populations need special attention to access services.