A United Nations-affiliated agency today launched a new strategic plan for AIDS prevention and control in the Caribbean - a region where the spread of HIV has reached critical levels.
"Combating the epidemic in the region requires that we focus on the dignity of people already infected who are living with HIV/AIDS," said Dr. George Alleyne, the Director of the Washington, D.C.-based Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which serves as the UN World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office for the Americas.
Responding to the spread of HIV in the Americas, where nearly 2.6 million people are infected, PAHO launched its plan containing specific guidelines for patient care in the community and the family, as well as through health services.
"We are stressing the importance of linking prevention with treatment of HIV/AIDS infection," said Dr. Fernando Zacarías, Coordinator of PAHO's Regional Programme on HIV/AIDS. "The two cannot be considered separately, since treatment offers an opportunity to improve prevention and vice versa."
Dr. Zacarías also stressed the need to make antiretroviral drugs more widely available. He noted that PAHO is currently working with the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other partners to achieve this goal.