Mexico City, Mexico (February 11, 2016) (AIDS Healthcare Foundation) AHF Mexico in collaboration with other civil society associations, people living with HIV, and lay health professionals, are petitioning Pope Francis in his visit to Mexico, to publicly support HIV prevention actions and focus attention on people living with HIV/AIDS around the world. The Pope is set to visit Mexico February 12th through February 18th.
“There is still an alarming lack of awareness, information, and prioritization of HIV/AIDS among leaders and decision makers when the public policies are defined for social and public health in Mexico,” said Armando Mayen, National Coordinator of Prevention and Rapid HIV Tests of AHF Mexico.
He added that the civil society “needs to speak out to remind them that the prevention and treatment of HIV, is not an extraordinary expense, but an investment in the medium and long term for the country’s wellbeing” there is scientific evidence on epidemic control of AIDS and reduction of HIV transmission, but this will not keep on happening unless there is a coordinated response and a political will of governments, companies, and organized society.
Finally, Mayan said that the petition to Pope Francis to recognize and to rule in favor of this problem is because they recognize their leadership and believe Pope Francis can influence the decision makers in in Mexico and elsewhere in the world in favor of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people.
According to figures from CENSIDA 2012, in Mexico about 48% of people with HIV have not had access to testing and therefore they do not know their own HIV status. We know that 6 out of 10 Mexicans do not use condoms during sex (the primary means of HIV transmission in the country), with a rate of 96% among all new cases.
After finding out they are HIV positive, only 44% of people are retained in medical care and only 26% are successfully on antiretroviral treatment and have their virus suppressed. The most frequent reason for lack of medical care and treatment is due to social and economic problems, including shortages of antiretroviral drugs. These gaps can be reduced, prioritizing HIV prevention and care for those affected. Magis-Rodriguez C., et al. Salud Pública de México/ vol.55, no.4, julio-agosto de 2013