Today some good news arrived on Radio about the continuing fight against HIV/AIDS. In case you didn’t know Barbados has been hailed as a success in it’s response to HIV/AIDS. In fact we have been hailed as a model case.
“I was a bit wowed by the degree to which Barbados has truly institutionalized a multi-sector approach to addressing HIV/AIDS. You are not only a role model for the Caribbean, truly and honestly Barbados is a global role model. [I’ve] worked on HIV/AIDS in several countries in the former Soviet Union, south Asia and East Africa … Barbados has surpassed all. In fact, Barbados has surpassed US and western European efforts in this area!”
Rebecca J. Rohrer, Director, USAID HIV/AIDS, Caribbean Regional Program (2003)
The Barbados response has resulted in huge drops in HIV mortality. (In English that means that people with HIV survive longer). Our major problem is that while people with HIV/AIDS have been living longer, we have thus far been unable to reduce the rate of new infection. That is: people continue to get AIDS at the same rate as before and live longer once they have it. You don’t have to be a genius to see how this can come off the rails in the future.
Today for the first time ever Dr. Carol Jacobs announced that in one age group we logged a decrease in the rate of infection. The news isn’t much, it’s only one age group and its only for one survey. But it is a sign that maybe, just maybe. We can get a grip on this disease that threatens our future.
The National AIDS Commsion has taken a lot of heat over their ads, by people who have been offended by the content or the implied content of the ads. In my opinion it might be a good idea if the critics would back off and let the professionals do their work. The cost of failure on this is just too high.