24 November 2017
According to Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director (Programme) of UNAIDS, HIV infection continues to spread among women and the gay community in Latin America largely due to violence and discrimination that affect both groups. “The rise in the number of infections is occurring among young women and gay men, both of whom live in situations of discrimination,”he said. Because they are discriminated against, he added, people in these groups sometimes shun society and do not take part in prevention programs.
Across Latin America, the overall number of infections of HIV has been stagnating, a worrying phenomenon when compared to other regions where it is in decline. Mr. Loures was in San Jose, Costa Rica to take part in a forum organized by the International Community of Women Living with HIV Latina (ICW Latina). At the forum, he drew a clear link between high rates of gender-based violence faced by young Latin women and high HIV rates. “Our statistics clearly show that where there is violence, there is HIV,” he said, adding that “women who suffer violence may have an HIV risk 30 to 50 percent higher than those who do not.” He added that more than 30 percent of young women in Latin America say they have suffered physical or sexual violence, a rate he called “very high, and very concerning.”
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