The prime minister of the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis will ask fellow regional leaders to contribute to a $50 million initiative to fight HIV/AIDS in the region over the next five years, The Miami Herald reports ( 7/3). After sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean has the second-highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world.

“Given…the devastation and how HIV/AIDS can in fact prevent the continued development of the Caribbean people, I am sure that my governments will understand,” said Prime Minister Denzil Douglas. “We know that discrimination and stigmatization among people who have HIV/AIDS is still a bother to us.

Douglas, a physician, oversees health affairs for the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) regional bloc.

Through the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS, the region has made considerable progress in reducing mother-to-child transmission and new infections—and in increasing the percentage of people living longer with the disease. Douglas said that more funds were needed for progress to continue.