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Under the theme ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’, World AIDS Day will be observed the world over today and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is urging the people of the Caribbean to join in the observance.According to a statement issued by Caricom, AIDS is a story often told by numbers. Across the world 40 million people are infected with HIV with nearly 4.5 million discovering that they are HIV positive this year alone. In the Caribbean, the figures also reveal an important story about human beings almost thirty years on from the start of the epidemic, the statement added.According to a recently published report by UNAIDS on the Status of HIV in the Caribbean, it has been recognized that based on relative population size, Haiti and the Dominican Republic are the most affected territories and account for 70 percent of all the People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in the region.In terms of prevalence rates in proportion to their populations, 2008 found the Bahamas with the highest adult HIV prevalence at 3 percent followed by Suriname at 2.4 percent and then Haiti at 2.2 percent.“Positively, we are also aware,, that because of the availability of antiretroviral treatment, there has been a 40 percent decline in death associated with the disease across the region,” the statement highlighted.In fact the numbers it was noted serve to explain the magnitude of the pandemic. Nonetheless, it was noted that when repeated by themselves,Jerseys NFL Wholesale, statistics can also numb and can hide the individual stories of tragedy and hope of those who live the daily drama of the disease.“They can also hide the fact that despite the decline in the deaths associated with the disease,Authentic Jerseys Cheap, 49 percent of the people in the region who need treatment cannot access it and therefore HIV remains the leading cause of death among men and women age 20 – 59.Most importantly, the numbers no longer hide the fact that we are failing in our prevention efforts as the steady decline in deaths has not been matched by declines in new infections and our numbers of newly diagnosed PLHIV increased between 2001 and 2008.”“We have for the most part focused on bio-medical responses to the exclusion of the socio-economic and legal responses required to prevent the risk of HIV to our most at-risk communities such as economically marginalized women and girls, men who have sex with men, sex workers,Brendan Langley Jersey, drug users, prisoners, illegal migrants and young people,” the statement added.It noted too that research demonstrates conclusively that these groups experience serious challenges in gaining access to prevention,Cheap NBA Jerseys China, treatment care and support.  As such, this World AIDS Day 2010 is therefore aptly themed “Universal Access and Human Rights”.It calls for increased awareness of the needs of these most at risk  And there is a need to move beyond routine responses as policy-makers, providers and the community, to more fundamental responses focused on eliminating the root causes of vulnerability, the statement stressed, adding that today, global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access to HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention and care, recognizing that human rights for all and particularly the vulnerable communities are fundamental to the ability to impact the epidemic. There is also the need to put in place the necessary social and legal protections to reduce the risk environment in which persons live their lives.“We must salute the efforts of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP). Since its establishment in 2001, PANCAP has been instrumental in mitigating the impact of HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean. By bringing together governments,wholesale nfl jerseys, non-governmental organisations, private sector groups, faith-based organisations and donor agencies, PANCAP has been able to coordinate both treatment and prevention efforts in the Caribbean.”PANCAP has also made significant progress on drawing attention to the crisis and initiating dialogue on issues of human rights and stigma and discrimination among others. In September, 2010, PANCAP partnered with UNAIDS and the University of the West Indies on a ground-breaking Symposium on HIV and Human Rights which targeted the political directorate, policy-makers and the judiciary and devisedpragmatic strategies for advancing the human rights agenda by way of constitutional jurisprudence, law reform, legislation, and litigation.The symposium benefitted from a cross-section of voices in dialogue working to find solutions including PLHIV, vulnerable communities, academics, judiciary, lawyers and business leaders.PANCAP, with funding support from the World Bank, has also developed model anti-discrimination policies and legislation focused on providing a legislative response to the Human Rights agenda. PANCAP has also supported the Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS with the piloting of Human Rights Desks and is now engaged with the PANCAP Regional Stigma and Discrimination Unit to scale up human rights initiatives regionally.World AIDS Day and its focus on human rights provides an opportunity for all individuals, communities and political leaders to take action and ensure that human rights are protected and global targets for HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care are met.“It is therefore critical for each and every one to deepen our understanding of human rights issues, and to continue to develop partnerships which challenge discriminatory laws, policies and practices that stand in the way of access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” the statement concluded.
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