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Statistics from the UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has revealed that more than 500 people are living with HIV and the AIDS disease in Saint Lucia, representing the second highest figure in the Eastern Caribbean.

This was revealed by Latin America and Caribbean Regional Support Team Director for UNAIDS Dr. Cesar Nuñez who provided data from the UNAIDS Caribbean Summary of the AIDS epidemic in 2015.

Dr. Nuñez revealed that St. Vincent has the highest number of people living with HIV and AIDS, as some 800 people are infected with the sexually transmitted disease.

Through the widespread expansion of antiretroviral treatment for mothers living with HIV, there have been dramatic declines in HIV transmission to children.

Cuba led the world by becoming the first country to be validated last year by the World Health Organization as having eliminated this form of HIV transmission.

St. Lucia is the only island in the Eastern Caribbean where HIV transmission from mothers to children has not been eliminated. Countries like Barbados, Dominica and Grenada were the first set to achieve success in this area.

The UNAIDS official noted that the greatest challenge is the ongoing fight to eliminate stigma and discrimination.
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