Fighting HIV/AIDS in Honduras
SPOTLIGHT ON THE LOCAL PROGRAMS
Honduras has experienced a rapid increase in HIV infections and accounts for nearly 60 percent of all cases reported in the CentralAmerican region. Roughly 80 percent of all reported cases are attributable to heterosexual transmission, and studies indicate that between 1 and 4 percent of pregnant women have been infected withthe virus. Prevalence of 8 to 10 percent has been found in higher-risk populations, including commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men and prisoners. A high prevalence rate has also beenidentified among the Garifuna ethnic group.
A grant from the Global Fund of US$20 million for an integrated program to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria will contribute to the reduction of theincidence of HIV among the most vulnerable populations: commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men, institutionalized persons, prisoners, the Garifuna ethnic group and young people. As part of thenational plan supported by the government of Honduras, the Pan American Health Organization, local offices of the United Nations Development Program and the Global Fund, Honduras has embarked upon acomprehensive program that includes both prevention and treatment activities, with the overarching goal of reducing by 25 percent the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Honduras by 2007.
Mass-media campaignswhich encourage behavior change to prevent HIV transmission will target youth, men who have sex with men and commercial sex workers. Community outreach activities will supplement these campaigns toraise awareness of HIV/AIDS throughout the country. In addition, community health-care workers and physicians will be trained in the care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, which will expand antiretroviraltreatment to all those currently on the waiting list. Honduras expects to increase the number of people on antiretrovirals to 2,000 after the first year and to 4,000 by the end of 2004.
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