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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
HAITI: UN Calls for Action to Prevent Spread of HIV/AIDS in
Lisa Schlein
March 2, 2010
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 needs.

To read the full report, "Helping Haiti Rebuild Its AIDS Response," visit http://data.unaids.org/pub/FactSheet/2010/20100226_haiti_aidsr esp onse_en.pdf.

www.aegis.org