DELEGATION OFF TO UN MEETING NEXT WEEK IN NEW YORK

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Minister of Family, Youth, Sports and the Environment, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo and Minister of Health, Dr. David Estwick

Barbados will be participating in the United Nations General Assembly’s High Level two-day Meeting on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) next week in New York.

Minister of Family, Youth, Sports and the Environment, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, will lead an eight-member delegation to the meeting which begins on Tuesday, June 10, at the United Nations Headquarters. Other members of the group are Minister of Health, Dr. David Estwick; Chairman of the National HIV/AIDS Commission, Dr. Carol Jacobs; Director of the Commission, Alies Jordan; and Barbados’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Christopher Hackett.

During the assembly, participants will review the progress made in implementing the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.  Member states unanimously adopted the Declaration which provides a comprehensive framework to halt and reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2010.

The 2001 UNGASS was the first ever special General Assembly session on a health issue and it identified benchmarks in the global AIDS response.

There will be five panel discussions during the conference to provide participants with an opportunity to have in-depth meetings on the findings and recommendations of the report of the Secretary General.

Although some progress has been made globally, HIV infections and AIDS deaths continue to rise. By the end of 2007, it was estimated that some 33.2 million people were living with HIV/AIDS and 2.1 million had died that year. Since 1981, more than 25 million people have died of AIDS.

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