Commentary & Opinion
Haiti Making Progress Against HIV/AIDS, Challenges Remain, Opinion Piece Says
March 13, 2009
There is "some good news" in the fight against HIV in the Americas, Cesar Chelala -- an international public health consultant -- writes in a Miami Herald opinion piece, adding that "most surprisingly, it's coming from Haiti, one of the countries hardest hit by the epidemic." Chelala writes that United Nations data show that about 2.2% of Haiti's population -- or 120,000 people -- are living with HIV/AIDS and that AIDS-related deaths in the country have decreased in recent years. This compares with an HIV/AIDS prevalence of 6.1% in 2001, according to Chelala. Haiti's progress has been "particularly significant for a country where 60% of the population lives below the poverty line of $2 per day," he writes, adding, "Only four of every 10 Haitians have access to potable water, and there is one doctor for every 10,000 inhabitants." However, the "scenario is optimistic," Chelala writes, noting that the percentage of HIV-positive test results among pregnant women has decreased by 50% over the past 10 years.
Chelala concludes that the "advances in fighting the epidemic in Haiti show that although much remains to be done to achieve better results, a committed leadership, good planning, parallel attention to prevention and care, and community involvement can successfully control this terrible epidemic, even under the worst of circumstances" (Chelala, Miami Herald, 3/12).
An abstract of Chelala's report -- "AIDS: A Modern Epidemic" -- is available online.
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.