Haiti launches new AIDS testing, information campaign

June 25, 2016

Haiti's Ministry of Health and the United Nations launched a new anti-HIV/AIDS campaign Friday, providing information and rapid testing to help thwart the spread of the epidemic.

"If a person does not protect him or herself, it's because of a lack of information," Valerie Toureau, a doctor with the UNAIDS organization said.

More than 100 people got tested at a center installed in downtown Port-au-Prince, and condoms were also distributed.

"As for testing and treatment, support for this is free, something that people need to know," Toureau said.

The initiative coincides with an annual day of HIV testing across the Caribbean.

Some 150,000 Haitians are HIV-positive, a number that represents 55 percent of all HIV cases across the Caribbean.

"In the most remote, of the country, we see that the population is not sufficiently informed about the disease and there are also a lot of myths surrounding HIV in Haiti," Toureau said.

Some prostitutes, for example, refuse to use protection if having sex in the ocean, under the false belief that salt water kills germs and disease.

HIV has a 2.2 percent prevalence across Haiti, a figure that increases to 8.4 percent among sex workers and 18.5 percent among gay men.

Homosexuality, while not considered a criminal act in Haiti, remains taboo, presenting a major barrier to screening.

"Stigma and discrimination exists and there is a lot of work to do," Toureau said.

Despite recent advances, 7,500 HIV-positive people die each year in Haiti.

Explore further: HIV rates in Haiti drop over decade

Related Stories

HIV rates in Haiti drop over decade

December 1, 2013
The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince says the number of Haitians who have tested positive for HIV has declined over the past decade.

More gay men than ever getting tested for HIV—but 1 in 4 still never had a test

June 20, 2016
More gay and bisexual men than ever are getting tested for HIV, according to new data from the National Gay Men's Sex Survey. The survey is the largest of its kind in the UK and sheds light on the sexual health of men who ...

Men who have sex with men in small cities less likely to be tested for HIV

June 2, 2016
Men who live outside major Canadian cities and have sex with other men are less likely to get an HIV test than their metropolitan counterparts, a UBC study shows.

Study compares tests to detect acute HIV infection

February 16, 2016
In a study appearing in the February 16 issue of JAMA, Philip J. Peters, M.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated the performance of an HIV antigen/antibody (Ag/Ab) combination ...

Thailand, Belarus, Armenia eliminate mother-child HIV spread

June 7, 2016
Thailand has become the first country in Asia to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, the World Health Organization announced Tuesday.

New study tests the effectiveness of at-home HIV testing for male couples

April 20, 2016
Relationships bring with them lots of issues: Who will do the laundry? The cooking? Pay the bills?

Recommended for you

New simulation tool predicts how well HIV-prophylaxis will work

June 14, 2018
A new mathematical simulation approach predicts the efficacy of pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications, which help prevent HIV infection. The framework, presented in PLOS Computational Biology by Sulav Duwal ...

Many at risk for HIV despite lifesaving pill

June 11, 2018
Multiple barriers may stop high-risk individuals from accessing an HIV drug that can reduce the subsequent risk of infection, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Active HIV in large white blood cells may drive cognitive impairment in infected mice

June 7, 2018
Macrophages, large white blood cells that engulf and destroy potential pathogens, harbor active viral reserves that appear to play a key role in impaired learning and memory in mice infected with a rodent version of HIV. ...

HIV vaccine elicits antibodies in animals that neutralize dozens of HIV strains

June 4, 2018
An experimental vaccine regimen based on the structure of a vulnerable site on HIV elicited antibodies in mice, guinea pigs and monkeys that neutralize dozens of HIV strains from around the world. The findings were reported ...

HIV study reveals new group of men at risk of infection

June 4, 2018
A group of men who may be underestimating their HIV risk has been identified in a new study.

Discovery reveals how cells try to control levels of key HIV protein

May 31, 2018
One of the many challenges in treating HIV is that the virus can lie dormant in cells, quietly evading immune detection until it suddenly roars to life without warning and begins replicating furiously. Salk Institute researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.