PEPFAR on CHART

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The Jamaican government, the University of the West Indies, and medical groups should have been prepared to take over the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training, CHART programme.

That’s the word from the donor agency that has been funding CHART since its inception 12 years ago.

The United States President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Response, PEPFAR, announced last week that it would no longer be funding CHART, as at the end of this year.

Jamaica receives some 23-million US dollars annually from PEPFAR.

But, after this year, CHART will no longer be eligible for any of those funds.

PEPFAR’s Regional Director, William Conn, says they’re redirecting their focus to treatment of HIV/AIDS among vulnerable communities, such as commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men.

CHART, headed by Professor Brendan Bain, is a training programme for health workers who come in contact with persons living with the disease.

Conn says PEPFAR had never intended to fund CHART forever.

PEPFAR, will continue to supply the same amount of funds for other HIV/AIDS programmes in Jamaica.

Conn says these programmes have to eventually become sustainable without outside support.

Meanwhile, Conn has moved to lay to rest, concerns that Professor Bain’s testimony in a recent gay rights case in Belize was responsible for the funding support being cut.

Professor Bain had testified on behalf of church groups hoping to retain Belize’s buggery law.

Conn says PEPFAR does not have a position on the retention or removal of Buggery Laws, which is left to individual countries to decide.

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