Special Features
January 12, 2007
Dr. Alleyne: AIDS the most dangerous disease to hit region

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of key destructors of the region’s social security systems says two of the Caribbean’s renowned economists. But Minister of Telecommunications, Science and Technology, Dr Jerrol Thompson believes that the pandemic’s impact can be controlled.

Speaking at a panel discussion organized by the National Insurance Service (NIS) last Tuesday, January 9, Professor Karl Theodore of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad said that AIDS is hitting the core of the region’s labour force, which spells trouble for social security.{{more}}

Explaining the vulnerability of the age group 15-40 to AIDS, Professor Theodore told those present to consider the negative impact on social security services’ funding.

“Those most affected are at the prime of their lives, people with the most capability of doing work,” he said

During his presentation Barbadian Dr Frank Alleyne said that it was critical that the Caribbean dealt with the impact of AIDS.

“AIDS is the most dangerous disease to hit the region,” he said.

However Minister Thompson, commenting during the interactive session of the discussion said that with the advancement in medical treatment for AIDS, persons living with the disease can now look forward to longer, productive years.

Describing AIDS as a chronic disease Dr Thompson said that the disease will soon be compared to other diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

“What we need to invest in and promote is early detection and treatment, of course along with prevention,” he said, noting that once it is detected early, persons living with HIV can prolong their lives with treatment.

The panel discussion was part of the NIS week long 20th anniversary celebration which will conclude

tomorrow, Saturday, January 13, with a dinner and awards ceremony.