UNAIDS [to 11 February 2017]
09 February 2017
Faith leaders mobilize to end AIDS in the Caribbean
Caribbean faith leaders met in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on 1 and 2 February to determine how they can support the Sustainable Development Goal agenda to end AIDS. The 55 faith leaders from 14 Caribbean countries representing the Bahá’í, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Voodoo faiths were joined by regional and international development partners, including UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Luiz Loures.
The faith leaders agreed on a set of recommendations, including offering leadership in support of achieving the 90–90–90 targets—whereby 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status are accessing treatment and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads—and addressing violence against women and girls. Other recommendations include engagement between representatives of religious organizations and key populations, including men who have sex with men, sex workers and people who use drugs.
While religious organizations have long contributed to the Caribbean AIDS response, the consultation aimed to increase knowledge and coordination, while rallying the region around the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic. However, the meeting heard that challenges surrounding stigma, discrimination, prevention and access to services remain.
The consultation, which was organized by a regional Faith Leader Planning Committee with support from the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS, culminated with an endorsement of the United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS and a road map to deepen their partnerships and capacity.