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Latin America and the Caribbean
AIDS' Effect on the Population of Latin America and the Caribbean

AVERT, an international AIDS and HIV charity based in the UK reports that the epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean is in danger of spreading rapidly and widely in the absence of effective responses. Despite many constraints, however, the region is making admirable progress in the provision of treatment and care, with Brazil continuing to show the way. It is estimated that 200,000 people in the region were infected with HIV in 2003, and that a total of 2 million adults and children are living with HIV/AIDS. Also, at least 100,000 people in the region died from AIDS in 2003.

Twelve countries in this region, including the Dominican Republic and Haiti, several Central American countries (such as Belize and Honduras), and Guyana and Suriname, have an estimated HIV prevalence of 1% or more among pregnant women. In several Caribbean countries, adult HIV prevalence rates are surpassed only by the rates experienced in sub-Saharan Africa - making this the second-most affected region in the world.

Countries in Latin America, however, do seem determined to limit the impact of the epidemic, and are making efforts to provide anti-retroviral drugs to patients with HIV/AIDS related illnesses. Brazil in particular is now starting to produce Aids drugs at a fraction of the cost of the big multi-nationals. An estimated 170,000 people, mainly in Brazil, were receiving treatment at the end of 2001. Countries such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba and Uruguay now guarantee free and universal access to these drugs through the public sector, and drugs have become much cheaper in Honduras and Panama.

Source: http://www.avert.org/aidslatinamerica.htm