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Oct 26, 2012

24 countries join Belize in PANCAP’s mission to fight HIV/AIDS

Representatives from twenty-four countries of the Caribbean region have been in Belize since Wednesday for the twelfth Annual General Meeting of the Pan Caribbean Partnership. PANCAP is an alliance of governments, NGOs, private sector and civil society groups that came together in 2001 to fight HIV/AIDS. The meeting was held under the theme PANCAP; Forging New Paths and it was a forum to examine what has been done under the HIV/AIDS agenda for the region and the work that is to come. At a press conference today, Dr. Edward Greene, the UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS spoke about the three main points of discussion at the AGM.

 

Dr. Edward Greene, UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS

Edward Greene

“We are in a different space at the moment compared to when the PANCAP partnership started twelve years ago. At that time, to have AIDS was a death sentence because of limited scope for treatment and care and also because we didn’t know about it. But right now, what we do know from the science is that people could live long healthy lives so that people with AIDS now could look forward to lead long healthy lives and in that context now, we have to make provisions for our health system to respond to that situation because HIV/AIDS is more or less becoming a chronic disease. But at the same time, the second thing that came out is that the funding situation because of the crisis throughout the world, is relatively tight. What it means is that PANCAP and its partners are receiving less funds than anticipated to carry out those programs that are in its Caribbean regional strategic framework. So creative mechanisms have t be found including the fact that more and more governments are absorbing much more of the cost of treatment and care. For example, in Belize what has happened recently and we have discovered and we congratulated the government is that the government has taken responsibility for provision of antiretroviral drugs to all those people in need, which is quite important, without which I think the disease would spread quite a lot in Belize. So funding is a critical issue. A third issue has to do with how we go forward dealing with the issue that lady Esquivel referred to; that is how we deal with the issue of stigma and discrimination because that is quite important. It is fueling the disease and this meeting came up with a series of discussion points which would be relevant in particular to Belize that is currently concerned largely with this issue of stigma and discrimination.”

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