Miami Herald Examines High HIV Prevalence in Guayaquil, Ecuador
The Miami Herald on Wednesday examined the "many and complicated" reasons for the high HIV prevalence rate in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and the "poverty-stricken" provinces surrounding the city, which as a region accounts for about 80% of the 6,000 HIV cases recorded in the country between 1984 and 2004. Because Guayaquil is a port city and one of Ecuador's economic hubs, people from all over the country travel through the area, leading to high rates of commercial sex work and sexual "promiscuity," according to health experts, the Herald reports. In addition, cultural taboos that discourage many people from using condoms, a general lack of HIV/AIDS awareness, an absence of a "concerted government response" to the epidemic and the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS all have made prevention efforts difficult in the region, according to the Herald. However, there are signs the "situation may be starting to change," according to the Herald. Ecuador's Health Ministry now "regularly" supplies the country's HIV-positive population with low-cost antiretroviral drugs, and international donors recently have given the government $14 million to fight HIV/AIDS over the next five years, the Herald reports (Dudley, Miami Herald, 2/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.