CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Nov. 29, 2010: As the World gets ready to mark World AIDS Day on December 1, new data claims deaths from AIDS-related diseases in the region has fallen.
A new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), shows that in the Caribbean, shows AIDS-related deaths in the Caribbean fell from an estimated 19,000 in 2001 to 12,000 in 2009.
There has also reportedly been a slight decline in new HIV infections in the region, from 20,000 in 2001 to 17,000 in 2009.
Additionally, the number of people living with HIV in the Caribbean remains relatively low and has varied little since the late 1990s, the report said.
However, adult HIV prevalence in the Caribbean is about 1 percent higher than in any other world region outside of sub-Saharan Africa.
Aside from sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean is the only region where the proportion of women and girls living with HIV, 53, percent, is higher than that of men and boys.
Unprotected sex between men and women, especially paid sex, is thought to be the main mode of HIV transmission in the Caribbean.
High HIV infection levels have been found among female sex workers in the region: 4 percent in the Dominican Republic, 9 percent in Jamaica and 27 percent in Guyana.
One in five men who have sex with men surveyed in Trinidad and Tobago was living with HIV, and one in four said that they regularly had sex with women. In Jamaica, an estimated 32 percent of men who have sex with men are living with HIV.
In Bermuda and Puerto Rico, unsafe injecting drug use contributed significantly to the spread of HIV. In Puerto Rico, an estimated 40 percent of new HIV infections in men and 27 percent in women in 2006 resulted from contaminated injecting equipment.
Globally, the organization said that the AIDS epidemic is beginning to change course as the number of people newly infected with HIV is declining and AIDS-related deaths are decreasing.
`Together, this is contributing to the stabilization of the total number of people living with HIV in the world,` UNAIDS stated.