HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care Improving in Haiti, Despite Political Instability, Violence
Treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS in Haiti is starting to improve despite political instability, gang violence and frequent kidnappings, the Miami Herald reports. The number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment has increased to almost 8,000 since 2003, when foreign aid started to come into the country. In addition, access to testing and care for HIV-positive people who do not yet need antiretrovirals is increasing nationwide, and the country is expected to achieve universal access to care by 2008, the Herald reports. "The prospects for controlling the AIDS epidemic in Haiti look very good," Jean William Pape, a Haitian physician attending the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, said. The provision of more than $100 million in foreign aid for HIV/AIDS has created a disparity between HIV-positive people and people living with other diseases, the Herald reports. For example, at the Immaculate Conception Hospital in Les Cayes, Haiti, foreign aid has provided antiretroviral drugs for 200 people, increased access to care among hundreds of people who do not yet need antiretrovirals and made testing available for dozens of people daily. But people with other illnesses are required to fund their own care, and the hospital's main wards are largely empty, according to the Herald. "Some patients don't come because they don't have enough money," Roland Charles, an internist at the hospital, said, adding, "People stay home and die sometimes." Some deaths occur among people with AIDS-related illnesses who are either unaware of their status or unaware of the availability of no-cost HIV/AIDS treatment. Reynold Grand'Pierre, a physician at the hospital, said he hopes to expand HIV testing to clinics nationwide.
Partners in Health Program
Partners in Health's sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante, aims to address the issue of health care by providing a comprehensive package of care for poor people regardless of their HIV status in Haiti's rural Central Plateau, the Herald reports. The organization since 2003 has increased access to its services from one site to several clinics around the plateau. The approach has helped identify new HIV cases, according to Joia Mukherjee, the group's medical director. One of the clinics in the town of Boucan Carre sees more than 200 people daily -- an increase from 10 people daily before the expansion. The clinic's physicians also are monitoring 350 HIV-positive patients, including 150 who are receiving antiretroviral treatment. In addition, PIH has trained 65 local health workers to each visit about six patients daily to assess their health and make sure they are adhering to their treatment regimens. The workers each receive $40 monthly. The PIH model is seen as an example for HIV/AIDS programs in poor, rural settings in other countries, according to the Herald (Goldstein, Miami Herald, 8/14).
Kaisernetwork.org is serving as the official webcaster of the conference. View the guide to coverage and all webcasts, interviews and a daily video round up of conference highlights at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/aids2006.