Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires John McIntyre
At event to Mark the Send-Off of the 2017 World AIDS Day “Treat All” Tour
The Medical Research Foundation
November 30, 2017
It is my absolute honor to be here today in recognition of 2017 World AIDS Day and in testimony to the U.S. Government’s commitment to working closely with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. The fight against HIV and AIDS is an integral part of our mission here and in our work with governments around the world.
It is also a great pleasure to stand here once again at the Medical Research Center to recognize the ongoing success of our collaboration with Ministry of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to expand the provision of life-saving medication to all 11,000 people known to be living with HIV in Trinidad and Tobago.
The program, known as “Treat All,” is a significant step in stemming the HIV epidemic in Trinidad and Tobago. Recent clinical trials confirm the “Treat All” approach keeps patients alive, healthier, and reduces the risk of transmitting the HIV virus to partners.
This ultimately means that Trinidad and Tobago is on its way to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This is remarkable, and not something we could have said just a short while ago.
Today, on the eve of World AIDS Day 2017, we recognize the successes of Dr. Jeffrey Edwards and the staff of the Medical Research Center by sending them on a national tour of other HIV treatment centers across Trinidad and Tobago.
The Tour, which began with a visit to the HIV treatment facility in Tobago on Tuesday, will continue with a visit to San Fernando today and then to Sangre Grande next week. During these visits, Dr. Edwards and his team will share their experiences with other physicians and nurses so as to scale up innovative HIV treatment practices nation-wide.
Today we also celebrate the Ministry of Health’s commitment to meeting its “90-90-90” targets, that is, that 90 percent of all persons living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of persons who know their status are initiated on treatment, and 90 percent of persons on treatment have the virus suppressed in their blood stream.
We wish the staff of the Medical Research Foundation success in their endeavors today to take the approach of “Treat All” to a truly national level.
In closing, we reaffirm our commitment, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR, and through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, to support the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s ongoing efforts to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS.