Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett, said in many countries reveal that growing numbers of adolescents and young people mature to ages where HIV risk is greatest.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis joins the rest of the world in observing World AIDS Day on December 1, under the global theme: “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact.”

Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett, said that St. Kitts and Nevis engages in the observance every year to “bring attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic; endeavour to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and knowledge; speak out against HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination, and make the clarion call for an increased response against the disease.”

She focused on the theme, noting that it comes at an opportune time.

“The World AIDS DAY 2020, theme: “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact” is timely, for although worldwide, there has been significant progress in the management and containment of HIV/AIDS, the condition remains a major public health issue,” said Hon. Byron-Nisbett. “The theme reminds us that individuals, families, organizations and countries must come together in solidarity to mitigate against the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and the Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). With this in mind, many countries have also adopted the sub-theme “Global solidarity, shared responsibility.”

Mrs. Byron-Nisbett gave global statistics that since the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s. She noted that 76 million people have been infected with HIV and approximately 33 million have died as a result of the virus.

“At the end of 2019, 38.0 million people were living with HIV, with an estimated 0.7 percent of adults aged 15–49 years worldwide being affected,” said the minister. “While the estimated annual number of new HIV infections in 2018 was 37 percent lower than in 2000, the population demographics in many countries reveal that growing numbers of adolescents and young people mature to ages where HIV risk is greatest.”

Providing statistics for St. Kitts and Nevis, the minister said that at the national level, “Over the period 1984 to October 2020, 458 new cases for HIV were reported with 145 deaths (31.6 percent). Between 2015 and October 2020, there were 81 new cases (average 13 cases per annum) of which 56 (66.6 percent are males) and a startling 42 percent under 30 years.”