Thanks to comprehensive public education programs and widespread condom use in the Caribbean, the region recorded 3,000 fewer HIV cases and AIDS-related deaths in 2008 than the previous year, according to data collected from Guyana-based Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), a unit of the Caribbean Community headquarters, reports Agence France-Presse.

However, the figures are still high for the region, said Carl Browne, PANCAP director, and more work needs to be done to combat the disease.

In 2007, Caribbean health officials recorded 20,000 new infections and 14,000 AIDS-related deaths.

Presently, 230,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, and there is a 1.1 percent prevalence rate among adults.

On October 28, PANCAP will hold its ninth annual meeting to discuss the disease’s impact on education and finances in the Caribbean.