BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, December 1, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is joining countries the world over in observation of World Aids Day 2017, which this year promotes the theme “Right to Health.”
However, the importance of this year’s observation of World Aids Day in St. Kitts and Nevis is heightened as the twin-island Federation will, later today, receive an Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and syphilis Validation Certificate during a special ceremony at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
This will make St. Kitts and Nevis one of the first English-speaking countries in the OECS, CARICOM and the Americas to receive this certificate.
In his statement to mark this year’s observation, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who also serves as CARICOM’s Lead Head with Responsibility for Human Resources, Health and HIV, said as a result of recent scientific advancements world leaders are optimistic of achieving the ambitious goal set out under the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets “that AIDS can be ended by 2030 if we can get 90 percent of people living with HIV tested; 90 percent of those tested on treatment, and 90 percent of those on treatment, living healthy lives with an undetectable virus in their blood, thereby making them un-infectious.”
Despite the progresses made in this endeavour, the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister stressed that that there are still many barriers to overcome.
“Chief among them are the persistence of AIDS-related stigma and discrimination and inadequate access to public health that accelerates the process toward getting people tested, treated and becoming un-infectious,” Dr. Harris said, while noting that each of us can play a part in making a difference “by advocating and supporting the goals of an integrated health approach, access to universal health, increased training of community health workers to reach out to the underserved populations and provision of adequate funding for the health response.”
Dr. Harris further noted that collective action and functional cooperation regionally are vital components to the right to health.
“We also fully endorse the roles of our regional organizations: The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and the recently formed Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN). We appreciate the continued support of PAHO/WHO, UNAIDS, PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, among others.”