The Caribbean HIV & AIDS Alliance (CHAA) has been implementing a regional response to HIV since 2003.
The Caribbean has the second highest rate of HIV infection in the world after sub-Saharan Africa. The epidemic poses serious development and economic challenges. Although heterosexual transmission is considered to be the main route of HIV transmission in the Caribbean, gay men and other men who have sex with men account for an increasing number of cases.
Homosexuality is criminalised in many Caribbean islands. High levels of homophobia and violence against gay men cause widespread denial, making people more likely to engage in high-risk behaviour, and increasing the potential for HIV transmission from men who have sex with men to their female partners and children. In Jamaica, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men is 38%. Rates of infection among sex workers and transgender people are also high, although little is known about this last population.
CHAA's regional programme builds the capacity of local community-based organisations and reaches out to most-at-risk populations in the region (sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people and people living with HIV).
Through the Eastern Caribbean Community Action Project, funded by USAID, CHAA conducts focused programmes in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Following the success of the first phase of the project, there has been a leveraging of additional resources to scale up its efforts, expanding from four to seven Caribbean countries.
One particular area of success has been bringing about changes in sexual behaviour through the work of animators – peer outreach workers who are drawn from and work with most-at-risk, marginalised populations.
Animators have reported a reduction in the number of sexual partners among their clients, more effective referrals for people living with HIV to support services, and distribution of male and female condoms and lubricants. Read more about animators here.
CHAA hosts the Alliance’s Regional Technical Support Hub for the Caribbean. The Hubs works with Alliance linking organisations, as well as other local NGOs and CBOs, to supply technical assistance that matches what local people need, and support that enables them to learn from and influence their peers.
- CHAA and the Hub organised a regional conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health in 2012 with participants from all over Latin America and the Caribbean.
- CHAA implemented the Caribbean Social Marketing Programme for HIV and AIDS Prevention (CARISMA II – funded by the German Development Bank and CARICOM) in Jamaica with the overall goal of reducing the number of new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS. This project finished in 2012.
- In 2011 21,819 condoms were distributed. Read more about our annual achievements on our interactive map.
- CHAA accelerated the private sector response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, initially in the hotel and tourism sector in Barbados and Jamaica (funded by DFID). This work was completed in 2010.
- Produced six stigma-reduction toolkits to serve as a resource guide for reducing stigmatisation of people living with HIV.
- As part of a project to teach sex workers about female condoms 5,000 awareness raising comics were distributed by CHAA animators in 2010.