The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is a global health program launched in 2003 to combat and limit the spread of the HIV/AIDS disease. PEPFAR represents the largest commitment in history made by a nation to a single disease. Through PEPFAR, as of September 30, 2012, the U.S. directly supported more than 5.1 million people on antiretroviral treatment (ART). This number is up from 1.7 million in 2008 – a three-fold increase in only four years.
In FY 2012, PEPFAR programs supported antiretroviral drugs (ARV) to prevent mother-to-child transmission for more than 750,000 pregnant women living with HIV. Thanks to this effort, an estimated 230,000 infant HIV infections were averted in 2012 alone. PEPFAR also supported HIV testing and counseling for more than 46.5 million people in 2012.
The Caribbean has higher HIV rates than any region outside of sub-Saharan Africa. The adult HIV prevalence of 1.0 percent is almost twice that of North America (0.6), and more than twice that of Latin America (0.4). Unprotected sex between men and women—especially paid sex—is believed to be the main mode of HIV transmission in this region; however, evidence indicates that substantial transmission is also occurring among men who have sex with men. An estimated 60,000 people live with HIV in the eleven countries of the Caribbean Regional program. The HIV epidemic varies within countries and across the region. For example, HIV affects young women 1.2 to 3 times more than young males in the Bahamas and Barbados, while in Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago the reverse is true.
Progress has been made in the general population. In 2012, UNAIDS reported a decrease in the incidence of HIV infection among adults in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago by 26-49 percent, and over 50 percent in the Bahamas, Barbados, and Suriname. During 2008-2009, mother to child transmission of HIV was reduced to the point where elimination of new HIV infections in children has become a reality. There is also a decrease in the number of persons dying from AIDS-related causes in three countries (decrease of 25-49 percent in the Bahamas and Jamaica, and by more than 50 percent in Suriname).
Started in 2009, PEPFAR’s Caribbean Regional Program, is coordinated from the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, as part of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) in Washington D.C. Four other U.S. Embassies are part of the regional program including the Bahamas, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. With a focus on partnership and country ownership, the program works closely with country National AIDS Programs and other regional partners including UNAIDS, PAHO, the World Bank and the Global Fund.
The U.S. – Caribbean Regional HIV and AIDS Partnership Framework is the five-year strategy document, and the U.S. – Caribbean Regional HIV/AIDS Partnership Framework Implementation Plan is the five-year implementation document (2010 – 2014). Annual Regional Operational Plans are submitted to OGAC for work plan and budget approval.
Partnership Framework program goal areas include: Prevention, Strategic Information, Laboratory Strengthening and Health Systems Strengthening.
The Caribbean Regional Partnership Framework is signed by the following countries:
Antigua & Barbuda
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Trinidad & Tobago
The Caribbean Regional Partnership Framework is signed by the following regional partners:
- The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
- Pan-American Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP)
The U.S. Government Agencies participating in PEPFAR in the Caribbean Region:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Department of Defense (DOD)
- Peace Corps
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
- Department of State
Mr. William Conn
Caribbean Regional Program
U.S. Embassy Bridgetown
Wildey Estates, St. Michael