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Menstrual Poverty is a Human Rights Issue and Not Just ‘a Hygiene Matter’

Picture of AHF Latam & Caribbean
AHF Latam & Caribbean

One in every 3 adolescents in Latin America regularly misses school due to the lack of adequate resources to manage their menstrual periods with dignity: clean water, proper underwear, and products such as sanitary pads, tampons, or menstrual cups. Instead, they are forced to resort to socks, rags, or paper, an undignified situation that affects girls’ self-esteem and hampers their educational and social opportunities.

According to UNICEF, over 1.8 billion people menstruate worldwide, but 500 million are denied access to safe facilities and sanitary products to manage their periods healthily. According to a study by the CEERI Institute, in Latin America and the Caribbean, only 9 out of 31 countries consider menstrual hygiene products as essential items. “In 2018, Colombia became the first country in the Americas to eliminate the 16% Value Added Tax (VAT) on menstrual hygiene products, followed by Mexico in 2022. In contrast, Chile taxed these products at 19%, the second highest in the region, behind Uruguay with a 22% levy,” the study details.

This year, in collaboration with The Period Company, the AHF (COUNTRY) team will distribute hundreds of free pairs of underwear to people who need them, in order to help make menstruation more dignified, reduce stigma and discrimination. . Period. is an innovative underwear designed by The Period Company and manufactured with highly absorbent four-layer towel technology and a special absorbency layer, which can be washed, reused and lasts two to ten years.

The situation is serious: according to a study by the NGO Plan International, 35% of adolescents and young people worldwide believe that menstruation should be kept a “secret” because they consider it still a “private” or shameful matter.

It is imperative to talk about menstruation and educate about respect, both for boys and girls. Additionally, efforts should focus on creating public policies to ensure that menstruating individuals have access to menstrual hygiene products, combat stigma, and ensure everyone’s right to menstruate with dignity and never be segregated again.

Since 2019, AHF has been committed to reversing the situation through public discussions, educational programs, and recreational activities. In 2023, we distributed over 250,000 sanitary pads in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as other hygiene products and menstrual cups.

Menstrual Health Day is recognized every May 28 worldwide and was launched by activists in 2014 to highlight the importance of menstrual health education and empower all menstruating individuals to fully participate in society and live a healthy and self-determined life.

AHF will host various events around the world with a single motto: #DignifiedMenstruation: Let’s End #MenstrualPoverty.

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest organization in the response to HIV and AIDS. It currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 1.7 million people in 46 countries around the world: in the United States, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region, and Europe. For more information about AHF, visit our website:, find us on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare For Latin America and the Caribbean Twitter: @AHFLatamyCaribe Facebook:


Sergio Lagarde Moguel

Marketing & PR Director 

+521 55 5419 08 76

email: [email protected]