U.S. Pledges $28M to Dominican Republic To Fight HIV/AIDS, Improve Family Planning Programs
The United States has pledged $28 million over three years to the Dominican Republic to help curb the spread of HIV in the country, EFE News Service reports. Dominican President Leonel Fernandez and U.S. Ambassador Hans Hertell on Monday signed the amendment, which is part of a $54 million bilateral health accord that aims to improve health care infrastructure in the country. Of the $54 million, $28 million has been allocated to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs, and the remaining $26 million will be used to improve the country's health infrastructure and family planning programs, according to U.S. Embassy officials (EFE News Service, 10/5). The money also will allow the government to provide a more HIV/AIDS patients with subsidized medications, Fernandez said, according to the Miami Herald (Miami Herald, 10/5). The amendment was signed during the third conference on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, where Fernandez said that it is "essential" to redefine prevention policies, according to EFE News Service. He added that because the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti -- which has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the region -- health officials should be "concern[ed]" about the spread of the virus, EFE News Service reports (EFE News Service, 10/5). Currently, there are approximately 228,000 HIV-positive people living in the Dominican Republic, or 2.6% of the country's 8.8 million people. Stigma associated with the virus and high costs for antiretroviral drugs prevent many people from seeking treatment, according to the Herald (Miami Herald, 10/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.