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Oct 26, 2012

National Aids Commission says time to focus on marginalized groups

While it is a regional discussion, Chairperson for the National AIDS Commission, Kathy Esquivel, says the meeting validates the work that is ongoing in Belize. Esquivel says there have been many successes, and the commission is aware that there is a need to focus resources on vulnerable groups and reaching those who may not be able to access available treatment.

 

Kathy Esquivel, Chairperson, National AIDS Commission

Kathy Esquivel

“Mother to child transmission, we’re doing very well. This year there was one case of a child born HIV positive—of course that’s one case too many and we hope it is the last one. But of course all mothers are offered voluntary counseling and testing and at least ninety five percent do take advantage of that, they’re offered treatment. We have a very high rate of treatment; it’s certainly above fifty percent in Belize; I think it’s near seventy percent now and it’s raising. Actually treatment is a form of prevention because a person on treatment, the viral load in their body drops and it drops to such an extent that that person is then very unlikely to transmit the infection to someone else. So we need to get up to a higher rate of treatment but we do have a high rate of treatment and that’s very important. In terms of new infections, we have seen a decrease in new infections every year for the last the three years so that we are thirty percent less new infections than three years ago. We are now at a level of knew infections last seen in the mid 2000s, like 2005 and it continues to go down. The areas that we see as most problematic is in reaching those people that are hardest to reach and there could be many reasons for that. Poor people tend to be harder to reach because they have so many concerns and so many life and death concerns and so little time and so many calls on their resources, they don’t always make time or cannot find the time to look after their own health needs. And so for that reason, you have to find ways of going out and reaching those people. And then of course stigma and discrimination means that some people don’t access treatment that is readily available because of the stigma and discrimination they face and these groups we find are particularly men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers and young people.”

 

Research shows that programs need to be put in place to reduce discrimination against vulnerable groups like commercial sex workers, vulnerable women and young girls.

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1 Response for “National Aids Commission says time to focus on marginalized groups”

  1. Rod says:

    The belizean people have been lied to for years now the aids in Belize is twice as high as this gov. And this lady is saying aids is so prevalent in Belize that 1out of 4 people in Belize is infected with the aids virus this gov. Lies so much that they don’t even know what the truth is anymore .

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