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
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.