Jamaica Has Seen ‘Dramatic Gains’ in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Jamaican Ambassador to U.S. Says in Letter to Editor
Jamaica has made "dramatic gains" in confronting HIV and the country's prevention programs have been "widely emulated" around the world, Jamaican Ambassador to the U.S. Gordon Shirley writes in a Baltimore Sun letter to the editor in response to a Dec. 5 Sun editorial (Shirley, Baltimore Sun, 12/25/04). The Sun editorial said that the country's recent increase in the number of new HIV cases and the "rash of attacks on gay men" in the country "hardly seems coincidental." The editorial also said that the Jamaican government should "step up" arrests of people who attack others based on sexual orientation and "embark on a public information campaign to blunt perceptions that homophobia is state-sanctioned" (Baltimore Sun, 12/5/04). The editorial's allegation that an "anti-gay" bias in Jamaica has contributed to an increase in HIV incidence "could not be further from the truth," Shirley writes. The "innovative approaches" the Jamaican government has taken to fight HIV/AIDS have been "commend[ed]" by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS and the USAID, according to Shirley. "Our government has and will continue to ensure that discrimination against any citizen is aggressively dealt with under the law," he writes, concluding, "As the evidence clearly shows, the Jamaican government has been a leader in the Caribbean in combating AIDS among at risk populations, and we remain committed to redoubling our efforts in this regard" (Baltimore Sun, 12/25/04).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.