The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is hosting an HIV/AIDS estimates and projections workshop with government data experts from thirteen Caribbean countries in Kingston (Jamaica) from 23-27 January. The workshop’s purpose is to train the staff of Caribbean national authorities responsible for the estimates and projections of the HIV pandemic using the methods and procedures recommended by UNAIDS.
HIV estimates are generated with the support of country teams generally comprised primarily of epidemiologists, demographers, monitoring and evaluation specialists and technical partners. The software Spectrum is the main programme used to produce the estimates such as HIV prevalence, new HIV infections, AIDS-related deaths, and the need for treatment for adults and children. During these five days, national staff will be trained to obtain country-specific estimates by the end of March 2023. These estimates are the basis for regional and global HIV estimates and national and regional planning and decision-making. They are published in the UNAIDS global reports, generally launched every July.
Data have long served as the bedrock of the Global AIDS Response. Timely, accurate data also inform HIV policies and programmes, strategic planning, and resource allocation to maximize the impact of the response. Data on HIV and its innovations are also integral to the United Nations Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to promote gender equality, protect human rights and accelerate UN Reform.
Efforts to reduce HIV-related inequalities are guided by two primary documents: the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS `Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030’ and the Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026 ‘End Inequalities, End AIDS’. Both documents call on countries to improve the collection and use of data to accelerate progress towards the global targets for 2025.
“UNAIDS is grateful to the Government of Jamaica, especially the Minister of State for Health, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, for the continued strong partnership with the UN system and for hosting the regional workshop”, said Luisa Cabal, UNAIDS Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “As the old saying goes, ‘what is not measured is not treasured`, and therefore not taken into account. So, we need data! And beyond that: quality and disaggregated data to address inequalities and reach the most vulnerable to HIV.”