Remarks by Ambassador Joseph Mondello
U.S. PEPFAR HIV Rapid Test Kit Handover and Supplemental Funding,
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
NIPDEC C40 Warehouse, Chaguaramas
- Honorable Minister of Health, Terrance
- Deputy Assistant Secretary Nancy Jackson
- HIV & AIDS Coordinating Unit Director Dr. Kevin Antoine
- Caribbean Meds Lab Foundation Director Wendy Piggot
- NIPDEC representatives
- Respected Members of the Press
- Ladies and gentlemen
It is my absolute honor to announce and recognize the approval of supplemental funds and assistance by the U.S. government to continue to support the Trinidad and Tobago national HIV response.
This contribution brings our total monetary contribution in Fiscal Year 2019 to $2.5 million U.S. dollars, and includes $1.1 million dollars to expand access to HIV services to Venezuelan migrants and other underserved populations. In addition, we are here today to hand over 110,000 HIV Rapid Test Kits as we partner with Minister Deyalsingh and non-governmental organizations in the field to expand access to HIV testing and treatment services.
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, commonly known as PEPFAR, continues to support the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to combat HIV. We value the partnership and congratulate the government for the significant progress it has made toward reaching the UNAIDS (“U.N. AIDS”) 90-90-90 targets. These targets aim for 90 percent of people living with HIV to know of their status, 90 percent of those diagnosed HIV-positive to be on treatment, and 90 percent of those on treatment to achieve viral suppression.
The “Treat All” approach is now World Health Organization policy and guides the global HIV response – it says every patient diagnosed with HIV should rapidly initiate anti-retroviral treatment.
We commend the government for its willingness to support vulnerable groups. The 110,000 rapid HIV tests we hand over today will help to ensure that all in Trinidad and Tobago, including migrants, know their HIV status. Knowing one’s status is essential not only to ensure an individual’s health but also to bring under control the HIV epidemic.
Community organizations are critical in this effort. In the near future, we hope to collaborate with non-governmental organizations to launch community HIV testing.
Minister Deyalsingh, your leadership has helped transform the national HIV response in Trinidad and Tobago and elevated your country to exemplary status in the region. The United States is confident that with these additional funds, Trinidad and Tobago will advance towards epidemic control and even more lives will be saved. On behalf of the United States, thank you for your continued partnership and unwavering commitment to combatting HIV.