Observer Reports (Charlestown, Nevis) – The Nevis HIV/AIDS Coordinating Unit in collaboration with Voluntary Counseling and Testing Providers wishes to inform the public that Wednesday, Dec. 17 2008, will be this year’s National Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) Day.” The venue will be at the Ministry of Health Parking Lot from 7 a.m. to 4:30 pm.” Do not miss this opportunity to know your status and plan for your future with a peace of mind. At the end of 2007, an estimated 230,000 people were living with HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean. Some 20,000 people were newly infected during 2007, and there were 14,000 deaths due to AIDS, he said. In two countries in this region – the Bahamas and Haiti – more than 2 percent of the adult population is living with HIV. Higher prevalence rates are found only in sub-Saharan Africa, making the Caribbean the second-most affected region in the world. Half of adults living with the virus are women. AIDS is now one of the leading causes of death in some of these countries, with Haiti being the worst affected. An estimated 7,500 lives are lost each year to AIDS in Haiti, and thousands of children have been orphaned by the epidemic. Overall, the main route of HIV transmission in the Caribbean is heterosexual sex. Much of this transmission is associated with commercial sex, but the virus is also spreading in the general population, especially in Haiti. Sex between men is also a major factor in some countries’ epidemics. Cultural and behavioral patterns, such as early initiation of sexual acts, and taboos related to sex and sexuality, gender inequalities, lack of confidentiality, stigmatization and economic need are some of the factors influencing vulnerability to HIV and AIDS in the Caribbean.