Prime Minister holds Debriefing and Evaluation Meeting with Delegation to AIDS 2012

"Pleased to see the steps we are taking are the necessary ones"

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams held an evaluation meeting/ debriefing with the members of the St. Maarten Delegation which the PM headed to AIDS 2012 in Washington DC in August.


The Prime Minister met with Suzette Mozes-Burton, Margje Troost, Eunicio Martina, Rajesh Chintaman, Ida Holaman, Joy Arnell and Emilia Thomas on Tuesday to have a formal debrief and next step strategy meeting coming out of the conference.

Some of the points that were discussed during the meeting were St. Maarten’s increased visibility with regards to the preparations for the next International AIDS conference to be held in Australia in 2014. Various strategies were also learned for increasing community awareness on the epidemic and increased St. Marten’s networking and partnership building capabilities with regards to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The delegation also was able to compare the steps that St. Maarten is taking with regards to controlling HIV/AIDS with other countries throughout the world and in the region. "I was pleased to see that the steps we are taking are the necessary ones when I compare our program to that of other countries in the region," commented the Prime Minister.

Also coming out of the meeting were increasing the effectiveness of testing programs and the empowerment of people living with HIV/AIDS. The Prime Minister also discussed ways in which Government can assist with the high costs of treatment for those living with the disease. "The reality is that a treatment course for persons living with HIV can be as expensive as twenty thousand dollars yearly. This matter of cost is extremely important and Government can look at ways to alleviate this high cost," stated the Prime Minister during the meeting.

The International AIDS Conference is the largest international meeting on a single health issue. Every two years 20,000 participants representing all stakeholders in the global response to HIV meet to assess progress and identify future priorities. The AIDS 2012 conference is the single most widely covered HIV event in the world and is organized by the International AIDS Society (IAS) in partnership with a number of international and local partners. The conference theme, "Turning the Tide Together", emphasizes that the HIV epidemic has reached a defining moment and that by acting decisively on recent scientific advances in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention, the hope for a cure and the continuing evidence of the ability to scale-up key interventions in the most-needed settings there is now the potential to end the HIV epidemic.