Priority Areas Coordinating Committee (PACC) Convenes Virtual Meeting to Discuss the Continuity of HIV Services during COVID-19

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Wednesday, 24 June 2020 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic continues to examine strategies to sustain the HIV and AIDS response in the Caribbean region despite disruptions from the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Dr Donald T. Simeon, Professor of Biostatistics and Research, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Chair, PACC

The 39th Meeting of the Priority Areas Coordinating Committee (PACC), the PANCAP governance body that focuses on coordinating regional priority areas plans, was convened 23 – 24 June 2020 under the chairmanship of Dr Donald T. Simeon, Professor of Biostatistics and Research, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The PACC received updates from the Director, PANCAP, Dr Rosmond Adams on the work that the Partnership has implemented to respond to COVID-19 and sustaining the HIV response. Dr Adams stated that it is critical especially at this time to ensure the continuity of care in the region and to advocate for maintaining the gains as the Region works towards the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Targets and ending AIDS.   

Dr Shanti Singh-Anthony, Coordinator, Knowledge Management, PANCAP Coordinating Unit, provided an update on the knowledge management, marketing and communications initiatives implemented by PANCAP in response to COVID-19.  She highlighted that the PANCAP Knowledge Management hub continues to share information and guidelines to support National AIDS Programmes and Civil Society Organizations in service delivery and mitigating the impact of COVID-19.

The PACC also received updates from the various Technical Working Groups (TWGs).  Ms Curvelle David, Senior Project Officer, Monitoring and Evaluation (M and E), Strategic Management Unit, CARICOM Secretariat, provided an update on the Regional M and E TWG on Health.  She emphasised the need to strengthen data collection and the use of information to guide strategic action to strengthen the regional response.  

The meeting also received updates from the Policy and Strategy Working Group on Stigma and Discrimination.  Mr Lucien Govaard, Vice-Chair, outlined how the lessons learned from HIV and AIDS can be translated to supporting the COVID-19 response in tackling issues around stigma and discrimination.

Mr Kevin Mendez, Chair, PANCAP Regional Youth Advocacy Steering Committee for the implementation of Regional Youth Advocacy Framework on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, reported on initiatives by youth leaders to engage the region’s young people on issues related to HIV and COVID-19.  The activities included capacity building and training on HIV prevention and supporting COVID-19 issues. 

The meeting also received updates from key partners including the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and The University of the West Indies (UWI).

The PACC noted the challenges faced by the region including prevention services, treatment, care and human rights-based issues. The PACC committed to engaging with policymakers on support for the regional response, including increasing domestic funding for national HIV programmes.  The PACC also pledged support for documentation of the progress and best practices in the Region and to advocate for strengthening supply chain management to minimise interruption in the availability of antiretrovirals (ARVs) and other commodities for the Region.

The PACC also noted that safeguarding providers and clients from COVID-19 is critical and supporting safe and sustained HIV service must continue with a focus on Key Populations.

– ENDS –

Contact:

Timothy Austin

Senior Project Officer, Communications

PANCAP Coordinating Unit

CARICOM Secretariat

Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

Email:      taustin.consultant@caricom.org

Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409  | Visit www.PANCAP.org

Helpful links:

Global AIDS Update 2018 – Miles to Go

https://pancap.org/pancap-documents/global-aids-update-2018-miles-to-go/

Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS (CRSF) 2019-2025

https://pancap.org/pancap-documents/caribbean-regional-strategic-framework-2019-2025/

What is PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.

Editor’s Notes

What are the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Targets?

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

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