SANTIAGO – The number of new HIV-victims in Chile has increased with 4,000 cases between 2017 and 2018. According to report by the UN, Chile has the highest increase of new annual contagions in Latin America. The Ministry of Health blames the previous government.
The HIV-epidemy in Chile is everything but over, with an increase of 4,000 new confirmed cases in 2018. A UNAIDS report released yesterday describes how the number of victims went to from 67,000 in 2017 to 71,000 in 2018.
With an annual rate of new contagions of 34%, Chile leads in Latin America where countries as Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Paraguay saw a decrease in the percentage of contagions.
Of the 71,000 current HIV-victims in Chile, only 45,000 receive treatment. Some people are unaware that they carry the disease: only 87% have been diagnosed, according to the report.
According to Minister of Health Jaime Mañalich, the previous government of Michelle Bachelet handled the HIV-epidemy in the country wrong, by installing failing measures. “They continued to insist on old, outdated campaigns. They focused on promoting the use of condoms and not on a firm strategy of offering more diagnoses, to let people who are HIV positive know they carry the virus.”
Watch this CT report on HIV in Chile:
Although the released report illustrates a tragic situation, the numbers are anything but new to the country. Last year, UNAIDS released a global report, showing that Chile is among 10 countries where the numbers of people carrying HIV are increasing by 50% or more. Other countries were Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Madagascar and the Philippines.
Former Health Minister Emilio Santelices caused controversy by attributing the rise in HIV-victims to the increase in migration. Government prevention campaigns were focused on, among others, the Haitian community, but current Health Minister Jaime Mañalich ruled this out, based on national data and data from UNAIDS.
Read more on earlier government campaigns:
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today.