US expands aids program.
Twelve Caribbean nations expect to receive a grant from the U.S.
government to help fight AIDS over the next five years, reports AP (May
12, 2010). Acting U.S. Ambassador in Guyana Karen Williams says the
agreement will provide funds to treat people in a dozen countries,
including Suriname, the Bahamas and Belize. The Caribbean has the
second highest AIDS infection rate outside of sub-Saharan Africa.
Williams said that countries can start to request funds in June from the
U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the main U.S.
program for international AIDS programs. Previously, only two Caricom
member-nations--Guyana and Haiti--and the Dominican Republic had
benefited from the program introduced by the George W. Bush
administration for African and Caribbean countries worst affected by HIV and AIDS, reports AFP (May 12, 2010). Under the agreement, the 12
countries would get $25 million annually or up to $ 125 million over the
next five years to assist with prevention, testing, strategic
information and counseling, said Karen Williams. Statistics show that
while HIV and AIDS have stabilized in the Caribbean, AIDS-related
illnesses are the fourth leading cause of death among women and the
fifth leading cause of mortality among men.