Funding Shortfall Could Force Three Jamaican HIV/AIDS Treatment Centers to Close
A lack of funding could force Jamaica's three "leading" HIV/AIDS treatment centers to close at the end of the month if $337,000 in additional resources is not found, the Associated Press reports. Jamaica AIDS Support, which has 27 employees, operates the three centers in Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. The centers treat a combined total of about 1,000 patients with HIV/AIDS and also offer sex education and counseling to urban residents, sex workers and nightclub dancers. According to Christine English, the group's marketing director, the agency, which operates entirely on donations, needs $25,000 a month to cover its costs but is "struggling" to secure new funds as new clients keep arriving. Ireland-based Digicel, a cellular telecommunications company, and the Jamaican National Commercial Bank have recently made donations of $15,800 and $21,000, respectively, but that money is only enough to keep the centers operating until the end of May. An estimated 25,000 Jamaicans have HIV/AIDS, according to the Ministry of Health. The Caribbean, excluding Cuba, has the second highest HIV infection rate next to sub-Saharan Africa (Campbell, Associated Press, 4/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.