PAHO urges testing for HIV and AIDS
The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is calling on people to get tested as an important step towards halting the spread of HIV and ending AIDS. ‘Know your status’ is the campaign slogan for this year’s World AIDS Day, celebrated December 1.
HIV testing provides people with a unique opportunity to discover their HIV status and enables those diagnosed with HIV to rapidly initiate lifesaving treatment. It also serves as a gateway for those at higher risk of acquiring the virus to access the recommended package of prevention services in order to remain negative.
Over 2.1 million people live with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1.6 million of whom know their status. Knowledge of HIV status, combined with increased access to antiretroviral treatment in the region has led to a 12% drop in AIDS-related deaths in Latin America and a 23% drop in the Caribbean from 2010 to 2017.
Despite this progress, in Latin America the rate of new HIV infections remains unchanged at around 100,000 per year—a reduction of just 1% since 2010.
Progress in the Caribbean has been much faster, with an 18% reduction in new infections since 2010.
Even so, throughout the region, key population groups most at risk of contracting HIV continue to miss out on vital prevention and follow-up services.