Voice of America News (02.27.10) - Tuesday, March 02, 2010
The Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti has created an immediate need
for assistance to help the high-prevalence country manage its
AIDS epidemic and prevent HIV's spread, UNAIDS reports.
Disruption to treatment and prevention services, chaotic
conditions and overcrowded camps of displaced persons
represent a substantial risk, according to the agency.
"We estimate that there were 120,000 people living with HIV in
Haiti," said Tim Martineau, UNAIDS' director of technical and
country support. "An important concern obviously is for us to
maintain treatment" among those who were already on
antiretroviral drugs before the earthquake, he said.
"The three most affected areas also had more than half of all
the antiretroviral treatment sites," UNAIDS reported. The
most-affected districts - Ouest, Sud-Est, and les Nippes - are
home to nearly 60 percent of Haiti's HIV population. While
makeshift tent clinics have increased ARV access, Haiti's
Ministry of Health "estimates that less than 40 percent of the
24,000 people living with HIV who were on treatment before the
earthquake have accessed them."
Among the dispossessed, "The risk of violence, and
particularly sexual violence and violence against women, poses
a great problem and challenge in terms of the risk of HIV
transmission," Martineau said. "And, there [are] also roughly
1 million people living in camps. And with the HIV prevalence,
the risk of the spread of HIV is quite substantial."
Before the earthquake, UNAIDS estimated Haiti's annual AIDS
budget was $132 million. UNAIDS now says an additional $70
million is needed in the next six months to meet immediate
To read the full report, "Helping Haiti Rebuild Its AIDS