Houston Chronicle Examines HIV/AIDS-Related Discrimination, Stigma in Mexico
August 5, 2008
HIV/AIDS advocates at the XVII International AIDS Conference plan to "seize the opportunity" to confront discrimination and stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in Mexico, the Houston Chronicle reports. This is the first year the conference is being held in a Latin American country. According to Mexican government figures, about 200,000 Mexicans are HIV-positive and 57% are men who have sex with men. The country's recorded prevalence is three cases per 1,000 people, but experts say it actually could be double because most people do not get tested until they show symptoms of HIV/AIDS.
According to the Chronicle, HIV-positive Mexicans also lack access to antiretroviral drugs. Although the government in 2003 created a nationwide network of HIV clinics for low-income residents and announced universal access to the drugs, shortages and delays in the distribution of the medications persist.
Anuar Luna, an HIV/AIDS advocate who is HIV-positive, said, "For the government and the decision makers, we're the scum of society," adding, "So to spend money on us brings them little political benefit." Luna said Mexican President Felipe Calderon should declare a national health emergency to ensure funding for prevention and treatment programs. "That would mean that accepting it's a generalized problem and that if you let it grow, there will be a huge cost for the country," Luna said (Lloyd, Houston Chronicle, 8/2).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.