SAN SALVADOR – Latin America is making progress in fighting HIV/AIDS, though fear still exists about warning young people about its risks, and its prevention among older adults must definitely be stepped up, a UN official said.
Despite the difficulties in some countries, Latin America is the region in the world that provides the highest proportion of AIDS treatment coverage, Cesar Nuñez, the director of the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS for Latin America, said in an interview with Efe.
“Latin America is the region reporting the most widespread treatment coverage, higher than 67 percent on average,” said Nuñez, who was taking part in the 8th Central American Meeting of People with HIV, held in San Salvador from Wednesday to Friday.
The event preceded Sunday’s observance of World AIDS Day, which has been held since 1988.
Nuñez said that in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, average treatment coverage is “higher than 80 percent, though Central America “is below” that average.
Some Central American countries “face challenges” like Nicaragua, where almost all treatments depend on funds from foreign contributions,” he said.
Nuñez regretted that in matters of prevention, there is still a lot of “fear about providing full and detailed information, especially to young people,” so they can take measures to avoid contracting the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, the cause of AIDS.
The regional director of UNAIDS also expressed his concern about something that has already occurred in countries like El Salvador – an increase in HIV infection in seniors over 60 years old.
Salvadoran health authorities have issued an alert about the use of sexual stimulants that is leading many seniors to have more sexual relations, but without taking any steps to prevent AIDS and other infections.