December 1st is World AIDS Day - The National AIDS Commission (NAC), the National HIV Program of the Ministry of Health and their partner agencies invite Belizeans to become an interactive part of World AIDS Day 2014 activities. This year’s theme is: Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS- related deaths.
HIV is now considered to be a concentrated epidemic in Belize. The recently completed Modes of Transmission Study suggests that around 70% of new infections in 2014 will occur in men and thus the shift of the response has now turned towards testing more men.
Most recent figures in Belize show that the total number of HIV cases has decreased and the number of new HIV infections continues to decrease compared to what has been documented in the past. The national initiative will be refocused on increased HIV testing for men, the provision of condoms and also the creation of more treatment options for Belize.
*Antiretroviral treatment for people with HIV is increasing in Latin America and the Caribbean
In the last decade, the number of people receiving life-saving treatment has nearly quadrupled in the region
*Nearly 600,000 more people today than in 2003 are receiving antiretroviral treatment for HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to data released by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in the lead-up to World AIDS Day, December 1.
*Over the past decade, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have increased access to health services needed by people with HIV, including medicines
*In 2013, 106,000 people became newly infected with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean, 9% less than in 2003.
*The number of mothers receiving treatment also increased significantly, according to preliminary data from PAHO/WHO and UNICEF. In 2010, fewer than 59% of pregnant women with HIV received treatment. In 2013, this proportion reached 93%, close to the 95% target adopted by the region’s countries for 2015.
*The proportion of children 14 and under with HIV who are receiving treatment reached 51% last year. Some 52,000 children in the region are believed to be living with the virus.
*In Latin America and the Caribbean, 3 in 10 people with HIV are unaware that they have the virus, and 35% of new cases are diagnosed late, impeding timely treatment.
This year, the NAC, the Ministry of Health and their partners collaborated to design a national campaign with the following key activities:
- A nationwide text-blast campaign aimed at raising funds for children with HIV (Belize Bank a/c #: 695-116-4268) from Nov. 1st to Dec. 1st.
- An Art & Health Fair (at 8 locations countrywide) on Dec. 1st in order to promote testing and information on multiple aspects of health.
- At the Art & Health Fair the public is invited to participate on our commemorative HIV Graffiti mural
- The launch of the NAC Gaming App on World AIDS Day 2014, which will be available for download in early 2015, free of charge.
World AIDS Day is a global initiative to raise awareness, decrease stigma and discrimination, and improve education about HIV and AIDS. NAC has been serving Belize through resource mobilization, research, and a coordinated approach to the HIV/AIDS response for Belize since 2002. We are closing the gap but a gap still remains.