Latin America must undergo profound changes to stop HIV

Latin America must undergo profound changes to stop HIV

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with the most inequalities in the world, meaning the objective established by the Global Strategy against HIV 2021-2026 requires quite a lot of work in these nations, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), recognized. 

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), had already established the need to fight social, economical, cultural and legal inequalities which are hindering efforts to stop this epidemic. In the same way, the Political Declaration on AIDS signed by the UN member states in 2021 joins this commitment.

Delays caused by COVID-19

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS estimated that in 2020, 81% of people with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean were diagnosed, 65% of them were undergoing treatment and 60% of these had a suppressed amount of the virus in their blood, meaning, their infection was under control.

This leaves the region far from the goal of eradicating AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 and, to achieve this, it’s necessary to double our efforts. We have to remember that, according to the PAHO press release, Latin America has not shown changes in the percentage of new HIV infections since 2010.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact in HIV health care services. The number of screening tests carried out was reduced by 34% between 2019 and 2020. Specifically among pregnant women, the percentage of tests went down 7% and antiretroviral coverage among this population decreased 2%.

Tasks to be carried out

In the face of this scenario, PAHO makes a call to action so that health services in Latin America and the Caribbean may transform to provide health services based on primary care and that they can guarantee universal access.

Even though new strategies against the pandemic, such as supplying several months worth of medications and community-led models of care have managed to keep HIV services up and running during the coronavirus pandemic, we need to increase diagnosis of new cases and stop postponing preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) strategies.

The organization concludes that it is important that HIV programs recover the achievements accomplished up until now, so that the 2025 goals established by the new AIDS Global Strategy may be met.

If you want to get a free HIV test or have questions regarding this health condition, we can help you at AHF Latin America and the Caribbean. Contact us at the nearest office in your country or write to us via Whatsapp.