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Ministry of Health Observes World AIDS Day 2023

World AIDS Day is observed annually on December 1st, dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic and mourning those who have died from the disease.


It is also an opportunity to show support for people living with HIV and to promote the importance of community-driven efforts in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. HIV remains a major global public health issue, having claimed 40.4 million [32.9–51.3 million] lives so far with ongoing transmission in all countries globally; with some countries reporting increasing trends in new infections when previously on the decline. There were an estimated 39.0 million [33.1–45.7 million] people living with HIV at the end of 2022. In the Latin American and Caribbean region, around 2.5 million people are living with HIV. In 2022, approximately 130,000 people acquired the virus, and 33,000 lost their lives due to AIDS-related causes. There is no cure for HIV infection. HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.


HIV is a preventable disease. The risk of HIV infection can be reduced by:

  • Using a male or female condom during sex. Condoms are readily available from the Ministry of Health, Primary Care Clinics and other outlets free of cost

  • Being tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections regularly

  • Using harm reduction services for people who inject and use drugs

  • Doctors may suggest medicines and medical devices to help prevent HIV, including antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), including oral pre-exposure prophylaxis

  • ARVs can also be used to prevent mothers from passing HIV to their children.

People taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) and who have no evidence of virus in the blood will not pass HIV on to their sexual partners. Access to testing and ART is an important part of preventing HIV.


Commenting on the importance of observing World AIDS Day, the Minister of Health and Human Services – Honourable Shaun D. Malcolm emphasized that “On this World AIDS Day, the global community comes together under the theme "Let Communities Lead" to emphasize the pivotal role communities play in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Recognizing the power of collective action, this year's focus is on empowering and amplifying the voices of communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Minister Malcolm is appealing to all residents of the TCI to play their part in the fight against HIV/AIDS and to work together as one”. Communities are the heartbeat of the response to HIV/AIDS, fostering support networks, reducing stigma, and providing vital education. This approach aligns with the vision of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which underscores the importance of community-led initiatives in their commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic. Community leaders and civic societies can lead this charge by.

  • Helping to reach vulnerable, stigmatized and other difficult-to-reach populations;

  • Speaking out and assist in combating stigma and discrimination to ensure that everyone feels safe to access HIV services;

  • Reaching out to key and vulnerable populations and assist them to access HIV services when needed;

  • Ensuring that adolescents, youth at risk, pregnant women and infants receive adequate care that incorporates HIV;

  • Supporting health workers to provide HIV services to everyone in the community.

To commemorate World AIDS Day, we invite you to explore PAHO's dedicated campaign page [here](https://www.paho.org/en/campaigns/world-aids-day-2023), where you can find resources, stories of resilience, and information on how communities across the globe are leading the charge against HIV/AIDS. Let us stand united, hand in hand with communities, as we strive for a world where no one is left behind in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Ministry of Health and Human Services is encouraging everyone to wear red on 1 December 2023 to show solidarity, raise awareness, and honour those affected by HIV/AIDS. HIV testing and counselling is available at the Primary Health Care Clinics across the Turks and Caicos Islands. Follow the Health Promotion and Advocacy Units Facebook page for additional information on https://www.facebook.com/tcihealthpromotions/.

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