United and Strong is better able to help Saint Lucians improve their safe sex practices following a successful engagement at the First Latin American and Caribbean Forum on the Continuum of Care in Mexico City, May 26‐28, 2014. The organisation has received a shipment of over 20,000 safe sex commodities from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which was approached by U&S at the conference.
“Although strongly focused on policy work to achieve fair and just laws, United and Strong’s foundation is that of prevention on HIV/AIDS and elimination of stigma and discrimination to marginalized groups,” ED of U&S Kenita Placide notes. She says, “The commitment of condoms and lubes for Saint Lucia is very important and is just the start of this new partnership”.
The Forum in Mexico was attended by 141 people from 26 countries and included representatives of National HIV/AIDS Programs, scientists, academics and experts in HIV, civil society and the different collaborating organizations and sponsors of the event – Department of Health, Mexico, Government of Brazil, Horizontal Technical Cooperation Group (GCTH), Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), U.S. Government (PEPFAR), USAID, CDC, PANCAP, UNAIDS (RST Latin America and Caribbean), PAHO / WHO.
The theme was “Diagnosis to effective treatment: optimizing the stages in the continuum of care”, with the aim of contributing to the expansion and sustainability of the HIV response and in particular the comprehensive care through partnerships between national programs, health services, skilled clinicians and representatives of civil society. This is based on a platform of agreed strategies and measures to reduce the number of new infections and achieve the greatest possible number of people with effective and sustained viral suppression.
Also in attendance was Saint Lucia’s Dr. Cleophas D’Auvergne senior clinical officer, Ministry of Health. Placide says, “The regional forum on HIV was an opportunity to assess where different countries are in the HIV/AIDS response, to commit to global re targeting process being undertaken to give continuity to the HIV response in the post‐2015 agenda, and to position themselves to reach the new targets of 90 – 90 – 90 by 2020.”
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and partner organizations committed to work to increase to 90% the proportion of people with HIV who know their diagnosis, the proportion of people receiving antiretroviral treatment and the proportion of people under treatment who have an undetectable viral load. Countries also agreed on a fourth target: reducing delayed diagnosis.
“It was also an important space for both Dr D’Augvergne and myself to also connect to agencies and funders such as AHF, to support United and Strong and the Sexual Health Clinic to boost our programs.”
United and Strong supplies safer sex information, male and female condoms, lubricants and dental dams directly to individuals and to business places for distribution to their customers. The organisation also provides counseling and demonstrations to the public.