HIV/AIDS in Caribbean Is ‘Single Greatest Threat’ to Region’s Security; More U.S. Funding Is Needed, Official Says
Kerrie Symmonds, minister of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Barbados, on Tuesday at the Fifth Caribbean Chiefs of Mission Conference on HIV/AIDS said HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean "poses the single greatest threat to the region's security," the Caribbean Media Corporation reports (Caribbean Media Corporation, 9/26). A report released in May by UNAIDS finds that AIDS-related illnesses are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 44 in the Caribbean, accounting for 27,000 deaths in 2005. According to the report, the Caribbean remains the region most affected by HIV/AIDS after Africa. UNAIDS estimates that at the end of 2005, 330,000 HIV-positive people were living in the Caribbean (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/2). According to Symmonds, HIV/AIDS threatens the stability of the economies and labor forces in the Caribbean, and more funding from the U.S. is needed to offset the limited resources available locally to combat the disease. Mary Kramer, U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, said that additional funds cannot be allocated to the region at this time, but that available funds will be used more effectively (Caribbean Media Corporation, 9/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.