HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 37

YOUR
NEIGHBORS
At the end of 2019, 81 percent of people with HIV knew their status, and
67 percent were on antiretroviral therapy.2 Although some countries in the
world have made signifi cant progress against HIV, Latin America and the
Caribbean (LAC) have not seen a substantial decline in new infections.3
Due in part to the limited allocation of government funds into health
systems, progress against HIV has stalled, and thus, new infections have
risen over the last years.4 Data from UNAIDS shows HIV infections in
Latin America have increased by 21 percent since 2010.5
To prevent new infections and deaths, we must ensure that PWH (1)
are aware of their HIV status (and so able to take precautions to prevent
transmission); (2) are receiving treatment; and (3) have achieved viral
suppression (which also prevents transmission). This requires policies
that expand HIV testing, decrease barriers to accessing HIV services,
and facilitate adherence to treatment.
A thoughtful policy implementation plan requires eff orts from several
ministries such as health, education, and justice. Drafting and implementing
a policy without tailoring to the particular need of the target
population or considering the interaction of various policies can result
in a poor outcome. For example, off ering HIV treatment to all people
with HIV, regardless of CD4 count, will not be as eff ective as it could
be if PWH experience high levels of stigma and discrimination or are
targeted by laws that criminalize same-sex relationships, sex work, drug
use/possession, and non-intentional HIV exposure/transmission-all of
which are known to deter people from seeking and accessing services.6 In
2019, 44 percent of new adult HIV infections in 2019 in the LAC region
were among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM).7 Yet
data from the HIV Policy Lab shows that 14 of the 33 LAC countries at
least partially criminalize same-sex relationships. There is evidence of
rising cases among young people within key population, yet 73 percent
of LAC countries do not allow adolescents to access HIV testing and/
or treatment without parental consent.8
HIVSPECIALIST JUNE 2021 37

HIV Specialist - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HIV Specialist - June 2021

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HIV Specialist - June 2021 - Cover3
HIV Specialist - June 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/AAHIVM/hiv-specialist-june-2021
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