Haiti has the highest prevalence of HIV infection in Latin America and the Caribbean. It faces the worst AIDS epidemic outside Africa and bears the greatest burden of HIV in the Western Hemisphere. The epidemic began in the late 1970s and has spread widely throughout the country. Today Haiti faces a generalized epidemic fueled by endemic poverty, high illiteracy rates and inadequate health and social services that have been further weakened by chronic political instability, high internal migration rates and a high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. To add insult to injury, on January 12, 2010, the capital Port-au-Prince suffered a 7.3-magnitude earthquake that killed over 300,000, injured as many as 500,000 and displaced about 1.5 million. After 3 years, the consequences of this earthquake are still felt in the everyday life of the majority of the population. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS among adults was estimated to be between 2.5% and 11.9% in 2003. An estimated 280 000 adults and children were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2003, and an estimated 24 000 adults and children died from AIDS during 2003. Analysis of the causes of death, which started when hospital death certificates began to be collected in 1997, shows that AIDS is the leading cause of death in the country. The high prevalence of HIV/AIDS has also aggravated an already somewhat generalized tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. HIV seroprevalence surveys of pregnant women indicate rates of 6.0% in 1993, 5.9% in 1996, 4.5% in 2000 and 2.9% in 2003. HIV infection rates may no longer be rising and may potentially be declining in some areas; there are also concerns of higher prevalence rates in pocket areas as well as target risk groups. However, these data should be interpreted cautiously because limited information is available.
- Population: 8.4 million (from UN)
- People living with HIV: 120,000 – 600,000
- People receiving ART’s: 29,200 (UNAIDS, 2010)
Statistics and information from UNAIDS.org, 2011, unless otherwise stated.
AHF Services in Haiti
AHF helps provide care and treatment services in Haiti. Located in a public healthcare center a little outside of the north gate of Port-au-Prince, the capital, the AHF clinic provides free testing for those who visit the center. In addition, AHF also has outreach programs in the community. In 2012, about 2,500 adults were tested for HIV, with a prevalence rate of 4.8%. More than 100,000 condoms were distributed. Currently, AHF provides care and treatment for about 180 patients, including free ARV drugs to 92 of them.