Workshop focuses on HIV/Aids strategic plan for next 5 years

POSTED: 09/6/11 2:04 PM

COLE BAY, St. Maarten – The HIV/Aids program management team started a four-day workshop yesterday at Carl’s Unique Inn and Conference Center in Vole Bay. The workshop’s focus is on the strategic plan for the next five years.
Program manager Suzette Moses-Burton said that she expects around eighty participants to take part. She said that, evaluating the program of the past five years, that there are two areas in which it did not perform too well: the support for people living with HIV, and the fight against stigma and discrimination of people with HIV.
The executive summary of the strategic plan for 2011-20166 shows that in March of this year there were 220 people living with HIV/Aids on the Dutch side; these are the people that are under care. “what is troubling, however, is that this figure is only a fragment of the real picture. Figures on the French side are considerably higher with 450 people under care,” the summary states.
The difference is attributed to under-diagnosis, and under-registration on the Dutch side and the fact that HIV-infected women prefer to deliver their babies on the French side. Also, the large Haitian community living on the Dutch side uses the system of universal access to the healthcare system on the French side.
The 670 people that are currently under care are thought to represent roughly one third of the total number of people living with HIV/Aids in St. Maarten,” the executive summary states.
Around 70 percent of these patients receiver highly active anti retroviral treatment. The remaining 30 percent either have adequate immune systems that do not yet require treatment, “or they are in denial and have chosen not to start treatment.” Every year both sides of the island register an increase in HIV/Aids patients of around 35.

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