Over the last decade, the Bahamas has seen a 53% decrease in new HIV cases

By Rumi Samuel Published on July 14, 2021
Over the last decade, the Bahamas has seen a 53% decrease in new HIV cases

There has been a 53 percent decrease in the number of new HIV diagnoses in The Bahamas over the last 10 years. Permanent Representative of The Bahamas to the United Nations Chet Neymour told the UN General Assembly.

Neymour, who delivered the national statement of The Bahamas on behalf of Minister of Health Reward Wells, said the country would continue to address healthcare inequality gaps and provide supportive policies and legislation to help eradicate the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

“In The Bahamas, we have made considerable strides in our work to end HIV and AIDS,” he said during the UN’s 77th plenary meeting.

“There has been a 53 percent decrease in new HIV diagnoses in the past 10 years. There has been a reduction in the national HIV prevalence rate. AIDS-related deaths have also declined, and no babies were born with HIV in 2015, 2019, or 2020.”

Neymour said access to HIV medicine and treatment care and support is free to The Bahamas. 

He said strategies to end HIV/AIDS must be people-centred and reduce the inequalities that drive the epidemic.

“The government of The Bahamas fully supports and believes this strategy is key and that no one must be left behind, especially the most vulnerable and those most at risk for HIV, including key populations,” Neymour said. 

He added, “In our region, the majority of new HIV infections arise from key populations and their partners. 

“We must tailor strategies that address the needs of all, including people living with HIV, men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and those in prisons and others in close settings if we will end HIV and AIDS.”

Neymour said interventions and service delivery must be community-led. 

“It is noted that there is no punitive law for same-sex relationships between consenting adults in The Bahamas,” he said. 

“Age-appropriate comprehensive sex education must be provided to young persons to provide them with risk reduction strategies and the correct knowledge on how to prevent HIV. 

“The government of The Bahamas will focus on the strategic priorities to end AIDS, including maximizing equitable and equal access to HIV services and solutions throughout our healthcare system, breaking down barriers to achieve HIV outcomes, and resourcing and sustaining the HIV response. Including integration into cross-cutting systems.”

In the last report, over 6,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in The Bahamas.

The concept introduced by the UN’s program on HIV/AIDS in 2013 focuses on a 90-90-90 set of goals. The idea is that by the end of 2020 – 90 percent of people who are infected will be diagnosed, 90 percent of people who are diagnosed will be on antiretroviral treatment, and 90 percent of those who receive antiretrovirals will be virally suppressed.

By 2030, the aim is 95-95-95.

Across the Caribbean, AIDS-related deaths and HIV infections have declined more than 30 percent in the Caribbean in the last decade, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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