Panama, highest HIV rate in Latin America

PANAMA has the highest rate of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus )in Latin America according to a United Nations report ,with men who have sex with men (MSM) one of the most affected subgroups of the population (which includes transgender, transvestites and transsexuals).

 The report was published May 17 by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Committee to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (Idahot).
The document details the adult HIV prevalence in Latin America is estimated at 0.4%.However, the numbers rise considerably among the population under study.
For example, Panama topped the list of countries with the highest HIV prevalence, with 37.6% in “trans” the population ” and 19.8% in MSM. Followed by Argentina, where the figures reflect a 33.5% for the “trans” people and 10.5% in MSM and third place was occupied by Brazil with 33.1% and 10.5%, respectively.
statistics from Panama’s Ministry of Health (MoH) show that in 2003 the prevalence of HIV among MSM stood at 10.6% and for 2008 some studies were located in 17%.
Since September 1984, when the first case of HIV / AIDS was registered in Panama, to date, 13 709, cases have been documented of which 67.7% are men, reports La Prensa.
In the view of César Núñez, UNAIDS Regional Director for Latin America, ” human rights violations, stigma, discrimination and gender inequality constitute barriers to access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment” of HIV in this population .
The report of UNAIDS and Idahot suggests that 4 out of 10 people in Central America hold an attitude that can lead to discrimination against someone living with HIV.
Nunez said that is the absence of effective mechanisms for the protection of these people, mostly become victims of unequal treatment, lack of recognition of gender identity and the validity of conflicting laws and “ineffective” adds .
He considered “important to adopt laws that recognize and guarantee the rights of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) and specifically protect against stigma and discrimination.”

For the president of the Association of New Men and Women of Panama (AHMNP), Ricardo Beteta, the figures reflect the “harsh reality” of this population. In fact, the MoH estimates that 20 000 people across the country living with HIV.
He claimed that since this administration began, the National Commission for the Prevention and Control of HIV met for the first and only time in August 2014
The picture indicates, according Beteta, zero interest shown by the current authorities. “No one e is giving any importance to the issue and, on the contrary, persist in pursuing, recrimination and stigmatization,” he said.
The, Director of the National Program of Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV / AIDS MoH, Aurelio Nunez, said that progress has been made.
In the last year have been launched in the fight against the disease, for which and $30 million was invested.
He announced that June is planned a “campaign of diagnosis” to locate the 20,000 people living with HIV and not knowing it.
The campaign, he said, will cover all health centers MoH and regional facilities of the Social Security Fund, with support from the Office of the First Lady.