Statements and Webcast
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
H. E. Dr. Douglas Slater, Minister of Foreign Trade and Consumer Affairs
9 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
DOUGLAS SLATER, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said his country and the Caribbean region had experienced notable progress — including a more than 25 per cent decrease in the incidence of HIV infections — while providing treatment and care for significant percentages of persons infected with or affected by HIV. However, achieving appropriate behavioural changes remained a major challenge in the HIV/AIDS response, he said, noting that such changes were critical in ensuring or improving efforts to reduce the transmission of HIV. The issue of stigma and discrimination of people living with AIDS and other vulnerable groups remained an important task. In that regard, he stressed that multifaceted education initiatives and shared responsibility were key in sparking positive behavioural changes. He stressed that efforts to reduce mother-to-child transmission by 2015 must be reinforced by strong emphasis on general prevention. To that end, the international community must pursue and collectively champion a veritable “prevention revolution” involving, in particular, the energy of the world’s youth.
Noting his Government’s continued investment of its limited resources in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, he stressed that more efficient and sustainable ways of achieving those goals must still be found. In that context, he reminded and encouraged its partners to provide additional resources to the various funding agencies, particularly the Global Fund. “We also call for exploration of innovative means to generate the necessary financing to step up our war against this scourge,” he said. He also noted that the willingness of States to not only allow, but to champion, the widest and most flexible distribution of all generic medications remained the standard by which the developing world would judge their commitment to eradicating HIV/AIDS. “Three decades into this struggle, no human being should be suffering and dying simply because the necessary medication is priced out of their Government’s reach,” he said.