St. Maarten Prime Minister leading Kingdom delegation at key U.N. Meeting

POSTED: 06/7/11 2:26 PM

St. Maarten – 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 St. Maarten HIV/AIDS Steering Committee made that statement on Monday as she led a three person delegation to a three-day high level United Nations (UN) meeting on HIV/AIDS. Upon her arrival the Prime Minister assumed the role of delegation leader for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
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 St. Maarten, and Suzette Moses-Burton, HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.
The high level meeting, which begins June 8 and continues until June 10 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;” noting 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 percent 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.

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