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May 18, 2011

Which districts have the highest HIV infections?

The HIV/AIDS statistics are improving locally. As we reported in our newscast on Tuesday night, the number of new infections is going down, but the study notes that the Belize District remains the area with the most infections. Tonight, News Five Jose Sanchez looks at the trend of the infectious disease.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Regionally, Belize has been one of the countries with a high rate of HIV/Aids infections. The Ministry of Health’s education and prevention campaign has reached a milestone.  There has been a drastic dip in documented new infections since a plateau was recorded in 2008.

Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director, National Program HIV/AIDS, Min. of Health

“The positive is a significant reduction in documented new HIV infections for a second year in a row. Now I mentioned in the report that we still have to look at it with caution. A two-fold explanation, getting better at data collection so as not to double count. Looking at the brighter side of it also the issue of whatever we are doing in the prevention strategy seems to be working. Not just in the prevention component but in the overall national response. So when you look at the report it highlights two hundred and forty-four new infections. When you were looking at previous years having above four hundred cases. In 2009 we had under four hundred and in 2010 we have under two hundred and fifty.”

When compared to the 2009 data, there is a 34 percent reduction in cases.  However, Doctor Marvin Manzanero, the Director of the National HIV/Aids Program, says there has been a shift in the districts most affected by new infections.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“Well Belize and Stann Creek were traditionally the two leading districts in total number of cases; they would account for ninety percent of total new infections for the last ten to twelve years. However in 2009, we see a trend of the Cayo district was starting to have a greater number than the Stann Creek district and that materialized in 2010. We don’t really have an explanation as to why the Cayo district has a higher prevalence. It could mean that the Stann Creek District is doing seems to be working in reducing infections. But we also have to find out why the Cayo district is starting to creep up in the number of infections. Compare it to census data that was just released because one of the theories is due to an internal migration pattern, more people coming from other areas, other districts.”

There is no difference in the male/female ratio in the infection rate. It has been almost one to one for the past four to six years.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“When you look at the total numbers as you rightly say, all of the age groups have cases. The bulk of the cases are between 25-39 years, where the majority of new infections are coming about. And again people are more sexually active at those age groups and also because we are a fairly young population—Belize’s—that could also explain why you have a higher number of cases in those two age groups.”

One alarming fact shown in the data is that HIV positive pregnant women are not informing their partners of their status. However, most of the newborns are testing negative.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“If you are on treatment, your baby will more than likely be HIV negative baby. We have about a ninety to ninety-four percent of women pregnant and tested. If HIV positive, you are offered free treatment while pregnant so that you can deliver an HIV negative baby. What we have not been able to bridge the gap though is in tested the partners of pregnant women coming into contact with the system. So that is an issue that needs to be highlighted. Women who are positive, who have been pregnant, been on treatment, one or two years we are still seeing them pregnant again.”

The hope is to eventually meet the UN goal of zero infections. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Which districts have the highest HIV infections?”

  1. beli says:

    An da so belize wha bring in da gay thing ………..people have to stop cheating, going for cheap in melchor, also another thing

    HOW THE GOVERNMENT ALLOW SOME BUSINESS TO HAVE STRIPPERS AND PROSTITUTES , AND ITS YOUNG GIRLS AND BOYS WHO ARE DOIN THESE SHOWS ,,,,,AT ONE TIME RUMBA RUM IN SAN IGNACIO WAS HAVING THIS KIND OF INCIDENT NOW THEIR IS MORE BUINESS WHO IS ALLOWING THIS TYPE OF ACTION..
    minister i THINK YOU SHOULD STOP THIS …….I EVEN KNOW NEARLY ALL , AN I MEAN ALL NIGHT CLUB SELL DRUGS ……CAUSE I’V BEEN THERE

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