Today the National AIDS Commission held a virtual public-private- forum with an aim to shed light on the work the organization has been conducting. The organization has been active in fighting to help curb the negative stigmatization associated with HIV positive patients. Dr. Enrique Romero Executive Director of the National Aids Commission spoke about the grim reality of HIV in Belize and how the commission is now seeking new alternatives in the fight against the AIDS epidemic.
Enrique Romero, Executive Director, National AIDS Commission: “When you continuously have two hundred and fifty new infections on a yearly basis and you continuously have one hundred and ten persons dying form AIDS related cases on a yearly basis, when our diagnosis of HIV is at 50-60% max adherence is at 60% and viral load suppression being at about 30-40% those figures are alarming which is signaling to us that the national response that we need to change the way we are doing things and thankful that has finally sunk into all of us at the National AIDS Commission including our development partners as well; the Global Fund, PAHO, UNDP who have supported our country greatly. So we have just completed our new national strategic plan for – and now it’s not only HIV but it includes STIs, Viral Hepatitis and Tuberculosis so that’s a very comprehensive strategic plan that will also be guiding the development of our new funding request to the Global Fund for the next three years. We have been already well our envelope has been submitted to us for US $3 million for the next cycle 2022-2024 but with the condition that we need to do things differently. We are off track but initiatives like this private sector forum and forging of partnerships between the private sector-public sector and the critical involvement of civil society I think are modalities that will change the direction we’re going in and the work that we envision for the Belizean people.”
The National Aids Commission also spoke on how they are currently in the process of revising the current workplace policies set in place for persons in the workplace who are HIV positive.