Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 03, 2016 (SKNIS): Minister of Health, Honourable Eugene Hamilton, has assured that the National AIDS Programme is still at the forefront of the Ministry of Health and “is looming large” due to the professional and visible efforts of the staff and supporters of the National Programme.
The Minister said this at the February sitting of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly when he updated the Federation on the activities of his Ministry of Agriculture, Health, National Health Insurance, Human Settlement, Community Development, Gender Affairs, Social Services, Cooperatives and Lands.
Pertaining specifically to the National AIDS Programme in the Ministry of Health, Minister Hamilton made reference to his visit to the National AIDS Secretariat to take part in the point of care rapid test which was being promoted as the Valentine’s Quickie.
“I was up there (National AIDS Secretariat), and if you see my picture, you know that I gave it full support, because Mr. Speaker, the national epidemic has stabilized with about 10 to 15 new cases of HIV per year over the past seven years,” Minister Hamilton said. “This trend continued in 2015 and we want to see improvement there. Therefore, the National Programme on HIV and AIDS has adapted the global goal that is captioned as 90-90-90.”
The 90-90-90 strategy is an UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS) objective which proposes that: by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their status; by 2020, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and by 2020, 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
Minister Hamilton also made mention of the National AIDS Programme’s outreach activities which continue to be designed to promote healthy sexual and reproductive lifestyles. The current placement of condoms in “liming” hotspots is one such example. These are places where persons gather to pass the time after a hard day of work or to socialize on a week-end. The rationale being to make preventative methods easily accessible as a means of protecting oneself. Placing condoms in hotspots removes the hassle of going to another location for protection when socializing, and reduces the potential to be irresponsible.