- EFE - Archivo
In 2019, the US Government will allocate more than 2 million dollars to help Panama combat HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, the US Embassy in the Central American country reported today.
The announcement was made on the occasion of an activity commemorating the World Day to Combat HIV/AIDS, held by the US diplomatic mission in Hato Chami, in the Ngäbe Buglé indigenous region, jointly with the US Peace Corps and the Ministry of Health of Panama (Minsa).
The support of the government of the United States in prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in Panama "is constant", and as part of this support it is in the process of giving the Panamanian health authorities 100 "kits" or equipment that will allow 1,000 HIV tests in areas of difficult access, the US embassy said in a statement.
As part of a health promotion agreement between MINSA and the US Peace Corps, about 30 Peace Corps volunteers are currently working on HIV prevention programs in the Ngäbe Buglé region.
"The most important support we can give them from the United States is the work of Peace Corps volunteers directly in their homes, schools and health centers," said Roxanne Cabral, the chargé d'affaires of the US Embassy in Panama, during a health fair held today in Hato Chamí in the Ngäbe Buglé region.
Cabral stressed that the members of the Peace Corps work with young people and their parents, "educating them and giving them the tools to protect themselves".
Peace Corps volunteers support preventive programs by accompanying Minsa staff on awareness tours about the dangers of HIV/AIDS, and collaborate in the design of educational materials that are distributed in health centers, medical tours and schools.
At the health fair in Hato Chami, they shared preventive information and medical attention.
During the fair, educational short films were screened, produced by the Peace Corps and the US Embassy, in collaboration with students from the Chiriquí Oriente Regional University Center of the Autonomous University of Chiriquí, some 500 kilometers west of Panama City.
The short films performed by young Ngäbe encourage the population to use condoms and take an HIV test, while HIV-positive patients are reminded that with proper treatment they can live a productive and full life.
According to the most recent data from 2017, since the detection of HIV in Panama in 1984, 24,000 infected persons have been reported, of which 16,000 still live.
In June 2017, a report by the United Nations Program for the Fight against AIDS (UNAIDS) on the HIV situation noted that "in Chile (34%) and several Central American countries, Guatemala (23%), Costa Rica (16) %), Honduras (11%) and Panama (9%) registered considerable increases "in new infections, and "in some cases" this was due "to the increase in HIV tests".