SANTIAGO – As UNAIDS revealed shocking numbers about the increase of HIV victims in Chile over the last seven years, decision-makers have taken measures. The head of the HIV Department of the Ministry of Health resigned and campaigns for the next year have been announced. A focus of those campaigns will be the migrant population, as 36% of the recently reported cases are migrants.
Facts don´t lie. And although HIV has been a health problem among all levels of society in Chile for years, the recently released UNAIDS report “Knowledge Is Power” seems to really have opened some eyes in the country.
For next year, various campaigns have been announced, focusing for a major part on the migrant population. Although in 2010 only 2.3% of the HIV victims were foreigners, in the first six months of 2018, 36% of the reported victims were migrants. In 2017, 19% of the new HIV victims of that year had a foreign background.
From the 36% of foreigners who contracted HIV in the first six months of 2018, 36.4% were Venezuelans, 28.6% Haitians and 11.2% Colombians. Radio Bio Bio has said that one of the campaigns targeting the Haitian community will therefore be translated into Creole.
Although the Minister of Health denied the decision had anything to do with the publication of the UNAIDS report, Ana María San Martín, head of the HIV Department of the Ministry of Health resigned one day after the release of the shocking numbers.
As Chile is among the 10 countries in the world where the numbers of people carrying HIV are increasing by 50% or more over the last seven years, with an increase of 96% between 2010 and 2017, the country can speak without a doubt of an epidemic.
The number of new HIV victims in 2018 in comparison with reported cases in 2010 seems to have increased by 100%. Numbers that ask for permanent measures.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.