UN Report: More Than Two Million People With HIV Across Latin America, Caribbean
November 22, 2005
Almost 200,000 new HIV cases were reported in Latin America and the Caribbean over the last two years, and together the regions have some 2.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, according to a UN report released Monday. This year, there have been 66,000 AIDS-related deaths across Latin America and 24,000 in the Caribbean region, the report found.
Due to their large populations, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are the South American countries with the most HIV/AIDS cases. Brazil alone accounts for more than 30 percent of the people living with the disease in the region. According to health ministry estimates, about 600,000 of Brazil's 182 million people are HIV-positive.
The report lauded Brazil for its efforts to get HIV/AIDS patients on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. By the end of 2005, the country expects to have some 170,000 people on free ARV drugs.
Despite the large caseloads in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in Latin America was found in smaller countries like Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. At the end of 2003, about 1 percent of adults in these Central American nations were infected with HIV, according to the most recent data.
In Latin America, HIV is being spread by unprotected sex among heterosexual and homosexual partners, and by IV drug use, the report said.
In good news from the Caribbean, the report found some declines in HIV prevalence among pregnant women, expanded voluntary testing and counseling, and increased condom use among sex workers. But the only Caribbean country that showed a reduction of the AIDS rate was Haiti, where the percentage of pregnant women testing HIV-positive between 2003 and 2004 dropped to 3.1, or half the rate in 1993, said the report.
11.21.05; Vivian Sequera
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.