Under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States government created a new Caribbean regional HIV prevention and care program in 2009. This program is guided by a Partnership Framework between the U.S. and 12 partnering Caribbean countries, one of which is Jamaica. The primary shared goal of the six agencies working under PEPFAR is to support the Government of Jamaica’s efforts to reduce the transmission of HIV over the next five years. The focus is on key vulnerable populations, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people living with HIV. The PEPFAR program in the Caribbean focuses on four goal areas: HIV Prevention, Strategic Information, Laboratory Strengthening, and Health Systems Strengthening.
USAID is supporting all four goal areas by providing technical assistance, capacity building, and financial support to the Ministry of Health and community-based organizations implementing HIV prevention programs. Activities include training and support in the area of behavior change communication to help improve the quality and range of services being offered. Another project provides grants and organizational development assistance to local partners to help strengthen and expand existing HIV prevention activities. USAID supports projects designed to address stigma, gender norms, and sexual and gender-based violence in relation to HIV prevention, including HIV Workplace policy efforts and programs serving HIV-infected/affected individuals. The Ministry of Health receives targeted Monitoring & Evaluation support to conduct research and improve data collection and use. USAID supported a number of studies in 2011 ranging from intergenerational sex to stigma among health care providers. These studies are being used to inform current and planned PEPFAR activities.
HIV/AIDS in Jamaica
Behavioral surveillance of Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) indicates that the main factors driving the epidemic are multiple, concurrent partnerships, early sexual debut, high levels of transactional sex, and inadequate condom use. The HIV epidemic is also closely tied to gender inequality; high levels of unemployment, poverty, and crime; and homophobia and discrimination against PLHIV. Despite the expansion of prevention and treatment services across the island, the percent of young people (15-24 years old), who are HIV positive, has shown no significant change over the last decade (1.3% in 2004 and 1.0% in 2009).
Last updated: January 14, 2015