Following the identification of the first HIV-positive case in 1984, the government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines established a response program, which eventually led to the development of the National HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections Strategic Plan 2001-2006.
Despite the high level of HIV/AIDS awareness in the country, positive behavioral change remained a challenge. The National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2004-2009, focused on a comprehensive approach. At the time of project appraisal, in 2004, a total of 796 HIV-positive cases had been reported, reaching an annual high of 108 new cases. At that time, 54 percent (431 cases) of the HIV-positive cases had developed AIDS-related diseases and experienced a case fatality rate of 51 percent (405 cases), leaving 391 persons living with HIV/AIDS. Among AIDS cases, the fatality rate was 94 percent. UNAIDS (2006) estimated that HIV prevalence in the country was 1 percent, compared with 2 to 4 percent in the Bahamas, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago, suggesting that the government had an opportunity to prevent the epidemic from escalating as it had in other Caribbean countries.