Prime Minister says significant strides made in fight against AIDS;
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams says significant strides have been made during the past 30-years in the global response to AIDS where a record number of people have access to treatment, rates of new HIV infections have fallen by nearly 25 per cent, and a greater number of pregnant women are living with HIV and are keeping their babies free of infection.
The Prime Minister who is also Acting Minister of Public Health and Chairperson of the Sint Maarten HIV/AIDS Steering Committee left the island on Monday heading a three person delegation to a three-day high level United Nations (UN) meeting in New York at UN Headquarters that will take place from June 8-10.
Besides the aforementioned, the Prime Minister is also the delegation leader for the Kingdom of the Netherlands to this high level meeting.
The meeting will focus on efforts to combat the epidemic. Thirty years ago scientists first identified AIDS which was mysterious, deadly and spreading.
The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) just released a report, "AIDS at 30: Nations at the crossroads;" notes that about 6.6 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy in low and middle income countries at the end of 2010, a nearly 22-fold increase since 2001.
Also, a record 1.4 million people started life-saving treatment in 2010, more than any year before, and at least 420,000 children were receiving antiretroviral therapy at the end of 2010, a 50 per cent increase since 2008.
The latest estimates from UNAIDS shows that 34 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2010 and nearly 30 million have died from AIDS-related causes over the past 30 years.
The Prime Minister is accompanied by Emilia Thomas, Policy Advisor Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Drs. Khalilah Peters, Senior Policy Officer at the Directorate Foreign Relations of the Government of Sint Maarten, and Suzette Moses-Burton, HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.