Caribbean Countries Celebrate HIV/AIDS Awareness Day — Vax Before Travel
Across the Caribbean, countries are making measurable progress towards ending the AIDS epidemic and ushering in an AIDS-free generation.
These innovative countries do so by using science, innovation and evidence-based strategies to help save lives.
The efforts are celebrated each year on Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is today, June 8, 2022.
“This is the eighth annual observance, and we want to take a moment to recognize the impact that HIV/AIDS is having on Caribbean American communities,” an HIV.gov news release said.
After sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean has the second highest HIV prevalence in the world.
In a 2021 blog post, Gregorio Millett, alumnus of the White House Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy, addressed some of the issues and shared data on the extent of the epidemic for Caribbean Americans. , which are extracted below:
“Adult HIV prevalence in the Caribbean was approximately 1.1% between 2001 and 2007, although rates vary by country.
Cuba has a low HIV prevalence (0.1%) among adults, while the Bahamas has the highest adult HIV prevalence in the region (3.1%).
According to the US CDC, with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean is the only region where the proportion of women and girls living with HIV (53%) is higher than the proportion of men and boys.
Unprotected heterosexual intercourse is the primary mode of HIV transmission in the Caribbean.
However, transmission categories differ by country. For example, injection drug users are a major driver of the HIV epidemic in Puerto Rico. In contrast, gay and bisexual men and heterosexuals are primarily affected in Cuba and the Dominican Republic (respectively).
The CDC has released surveillance data on HIV among black people in the United States of Caribbean descent.
Of approximately 100,013 black adults and adolescents diagnosed with HIV between 2001 and 2007, 11.7% were foreign-born, with most coming from the Caribbean (54.1%) and Africa (41.5%).
Most foreign-born Black Caribbeans with HIV in the United States are from Haiti (66.9%), 18.2% from Jamaica, 6.3% from Trinidad and Tobago, 3.3 % from the Bahamas, 1.4% from Barbados and 3.8% from other parts of the Caribbean.
Males account for the majority (56.6%) of HIV diagnoses among black people born in the Caribbean. Conversely, women account for 57.4% of diagnoses among African-born HIV-positive Black Americans.
Although no US FDA-approved HIV vaccine is available as of June 8, 2022, progress has been made this year.
Moderna Inc. has two vaccines in development; mRNA-1574 and mRNA-1644 (eOD-GT8 60mer).
And HOOKIPA Pharma’s Arenaviral therapeutic vaccines have shown in a non-human preclinical study that 2-vector therapy induces a greater immune response than single-vector therapy and results in a dramatic reduction in viral load.
Additionally, the US CDC says notable progress has been made in increasing the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.
Preliminary data shows that in 2020, around 25% of the 1.2 million people for whom PrEP is recommended were prescribed it, up from only around 3% in 2015.
More HIV vaccine news is posted at PrecisionVaccinations.com/HIV.
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