St. Maarten delegation presents eight times at coming conference

POSTED: 11/2/11 12:24 PM

GREAT BAY/NASSAU – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams will speak three times at the upcoming Caribbean HIV/AIDS conference. The three addresses include speeches at two special sessions and the closing. Five of the other twelve delegation members will also present abstract submissions at the meeting at the Atlantis Resort. The meeting will run from November 18 to November 21.

St. Maarten has played a significant role in the conference already because the HIV/AIDS Programme Manager Suzette Moses Burton sits on the planning committee. Burton and her colleagues on the committee have worked with three committees of diverse regional individuals from a range of organizations who have their fingers on the pulse of the HIV epidemic in the region. Together they have developed a program designed to explore cross-cutting issues relevant across the Caribbean and to examine them from multiple perspectives. These perspectives include the presentation of research findings, lessons learned, collaborative methods, and best practices that are based on the wide range of scientific expertise, cultures, spiritual beliefs, and languages throughout the Caribbean.

“Working collaboratively in a peer-review process, meeting planners developed a focused, abstract-driven conference agenda relevant to HIV stakeholders across the region. In so doing, they have created a unique opportunity for individuals of diverse backgrounds and interests to come together to examine the many factors influencing HIV in the Caribbean in order to move forward collectively to prevent the spread of HIV, mitigate its impact in the region, and improve our overall response,” Conference Co-Chair Daisy Professor M. Gely said.

From Information to Action

The theme of the conference, “Strengthening evidence to achieve sustainable action,” is woven throughout the agenda. This event is the third Caribbean HIV conference in the past decade, and it is designed to build on successes of the previous events, which demonstrated that regional cooperation and collaboration are key to confronting HIV in the Caribbean.

“The two previous Caribbean HIV conferences provided opportunities for nations of our region to form strong bonds and good institutional cooperation regarding the response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean,” Conference Co-Chair and Director of the Bahamian National AIDS Programme Dr. Perry Gomez said.

“Now we need to build upon our previous collaborations and take action to improve access to information on prevention, treatment, and care, and to escalate the campaign to fight stigma and discrimination. By focusing on the sustainability of suggested efforts, we can make a real and long-term impact on the lives of HIV-infected and –affected individuals throughout the Caribbean,” Gomez added.

Leading political, scientific, and public health leaders are included in the impressive roster of speakers contributing to the agenda. Visit to view a list of some of the featured speakers and session moderators. The conference will be conducted in both English and Spanish. The multidisciplinary forum is designed to support regional interests and education, and it is open and free of charge to anyone who would like to attend.

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