By Alex Dmuchovsky
This year alone, Latin America recorded approximately 100,000 new cases of the HIV/AIDS virus. Despite this, Director of the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Cesar Nuñez proclaims that Latin America is the region in the world that provides the highest treatment coverage per capita. According to him, ““Latin America is the region reporting the most widespread treatment coverage, higher than 67 percent on average.” Nuñez took part in the 8th Central American Meeting of People with HIV, which was held in San Salvador last week.
UNICEF (another United Nations program), released its 2013 “Stocktaking Report,” which gathers data on mothers, children, and the incidence of HIV/AIDS. According to the report, cases of new HIV diseases among newborns in Latin America has been halved since 2005, with an incidence of 540,000 in ’05 down to 260,000 in 2012.
Even more surprising, across Latin America there was a 37% drop in AIDS-related deaths between 2001 and 2012, according to The Namibian.
Unfortunately, there are some countries within the region that still struggle in addressing the pandemic within its own population. For example, Nicaragua depends on funds from foreign contributions (governments, NGO’s, etc.) to fund almost all of its HIV/AIDS treatments.
The regional director of UNAIDS also considers the rate of infection among seniors (over 60 years old) a pressing issue, as countries like El Salvador have already seen a dramatic spike in cases for this demographic. The UN feels that warning people of the risks of contracting AIDS, as well as education on preventative measures, is of the utmost importance. According to The Bahamas Weekly, seven countries in South and Central America now follow World Health Organization (WHO, the UN’s public health branch) recommendations in providing treatment to patients. Additionally, the WHO outlined the framework for such programs in its new initiative, titled “Treatment 2.0.”
For more on Treatment 2.0: http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/treatment2/en/