South Florida Sun-Sentinel Special Report Investigates HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel yesterday ran a special section called "Witness to an Epidemic - AIDS in the Caribbean," which examined the social, economic and political ramifications of HIV/AIDS in the islands of the Caribbean. Presented as a 24-page insert to the newspaper, the stories were written by Sun-Sentinel reporters Tim Collie, Michele Salcedo and Vanessa Bauza. The following briefly summarizes the articles.
- "Some Come Here and Die Very Rapidly": The first story in the special report examines the impact of HIV/AIDS in Haiti by featuring the life and death of Jean David Droitidieu, a 28-year-old who died from AIDS-related illnesses. In addition to featuring Droitidieu's treatment and death, the article examines medical care for AIDS patients in Haiti (Collie, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/10). To read the full article click here.
- "Prostitutes at Least Can Protect Themselves. Married Women Can't": The article examines how social mores, culture and a stigma about condom use has helped spread HIV, especially among women. In addition to discussing how women are fearful of being labeled "unfaithful" to their husbands if they seek treatment for HIV/AIDS, the article also examines vertical transmission (Collie/Salcedo, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/10). Click here for the full article.
- "There is No Surprise We're Going to Have a Problem With HIV": This article examines how HIV "strikes down" the "key pillar" in Caribbean societies, the family, and often leaves children fending for themselves. In addition to the advent of AIDS orphanages in the region, the article describes how homophobia has influenced the AIDS policies of the Jamaican government (Salcedo, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/10). For the full article click here.
- "What Else Can You Do -- We're All Addicted and We're All Going to Die Sometime": While AIDS is typically spread sexually in the Caribbean, more than half the cases in Puerto Rico are spread through intravenous drug use. This article describes how drug trafficking has contributed to the HIV/AIDS problem in the Caribbean (Collie, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/10). Click here for the entire story.
- "The Cuban Point of View is that You Have the Right to Be Sick, But Not to Transmit it to Anyone Else": This article describes the Cuban government's response to HIV/AIDS, which includes a system of sanatoriums. HIV-positive patients receive treatment at the centers, where a physician will decide if they are "trustworthy" enough to return to their homes. Those who are "not responsible" with their health must stay at the sanatoriums, where they receive AIDS medications (Valentin, South Florida Sun Sentinel, 6/10). For the full article, click here.
- "The Problem is Not That People Should Stop Doing the Education, it's That So Far it Hasn't Worked": In the last article of the special report, the Sun-Sentinel examines how the governments of the Caribbean are now beginning to realize the "potential for devastation" from HIV/AIDS. However, without proper funding and adequate health infrastructures, the disease may cause 75% of all deaths in the Caribbean in 20 years (Collie/Salcedo, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/10). Click here for the full story.
Following the series of articles, the special report included an editorial about the HIV/AIDS problem in the Caribbean by Earl Maucker, the editor and vice president of the Sun-Sentinel. In describing the special report and the HIV/AIDS "catastrophe," Maucker says the reason for publishing the special report is not to "create undue fear," but to "offer help and understanding as we all seek solutions" (Maucker, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/10). The special report ran three days after HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson announced that the CDC will expand its Global AIDS Program, which focuses on prevention, surveillance and infrastructure and treatment, to help fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean and Latin America Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/8).