The conference took place from 18-21 November 2011 in the Bahamas.
The team included eight Community Animators, who are peer outreach workers drawn from target populations, from across six Eastern Caribbean countries, as well as CHAA staff members. Community Animators have a central role in CHAA’s work, providing information, support and prevention services to some of the communities most vulnerable to HIV in the Eastern Caribbean. They exhibited five conference posters covering CHAA’s work in the tourism section and in the small islands of the Eastern Caribbean. CHAA also attended the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) AGM which took place the day before the main Conference.
A key theme of both the PANCAP meeting and the main conference was the question of sustainability of funding for HIV programming in the region, and discussion around the shift of some traditional donors away from funding in the Caribbean. In a key plenary session, Professor Karl Theodore from the Centre for Health Economics at the University of the West Indies, estimated that donor support will be cut by half over the next four years. He urged Regional Governments to plan to allocate 1% of their overall budgets to fund their entire HIV Prevention programmes.
Another key event at the conference was the launch, by UNAIDS, of the Caribbean Coalition for Social Justice (CCSJ). The coalition represents a sustainable attempt to offer legal representation to people across the region who have suffered violations of their rights. The CCSJ will fund the travel expenses of lawyers who offer their services for this cause and any funds won from these cases will be split between the CCSJ, the lawyer and the complainants themselves. The start-up funding is being provided by Levi-Strauss.
For many of the community animators, this was their first chance to attend a large international conference. It was an important opportunity for them to engage with some of the debates currently occurring at a regional and global level, and to take these back to the communities with which they work on a daily basis.
Find out more about our work in the Caribbean.
Read more on UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team site: Caribbean HIV Conference tackles sustainability.