HIV adult rate still high in The Bahamas

The Bahamas still has the highest HIV adult prevalence rate in the Caribbean, a region that has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world outside of sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UNAIDS 2010 Global report.

UNAIDS estimated in the report, which was recently released that 240,000 people were living with HIV in the Caribbean in 2009. The figure has remained steady since the late 1990s, said UNAIDS.

The rate of new HIV infections in the region has slightly declined in the past decade with 20,000 new infections being recorded in 2001 and 17,000 being recorded in 2009.

In The Bahamas there was an estimated 6,600 people living with HIV in 2009. This figure is up from 5,900 recorded in 2001. The UNAIDS figure is an estimate. The range of possible infections in The Bahamas in 2009 is from 2,600 to 11,000 people, said the report.

Cuba is the country in the region with the lowest adult HIV prevalence rate recorded in 2009 (0.1 percent)

Apart from sub-Saharan Africa, UNAIDS said the Caribbean is the only region where the proportion of women and girls living with HIV (53 percent) is higher than that of men and boys.

Unprotected sex between men and women — especially paid sex — is thought to be the main mode of HIV transmission in the Caribbean, the report noted.

Despite the high prevalence rate in The Bahamas, there were positive trends reported.

In Jamaica, it was reported that an estimated 32 percent of men who have sex with men are living with HIV.

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