World AIDS Day

Haiti continues to face challenges in the response to AIDS across the country. An estimated 120,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS before the earthquake, of which 53% were women.

The earthquake destroyed hospitals and health centres, leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced and without access to basic healthcare. Stocks of antiretroviral treatment were also lost, and supplies took time to come into the country.

The 700 IDP camps around the affected area presented new challenges for a response to HIV/AIDS, with little or no access to healthcare facilities in the early response period. New strategies were developed, increasing awareness raising and information in camps to prevent the spread of HIV. Family support has been a concern, as broken houses have often led to broken homes, and left many women vulnerable.

Many of these challenges remain, and whilst mechanisms are in place to provide a response to the spread of HIV, there are still obstacles to overcome. Coordination between NGOs and government agencies presents difficulties in delivering a unified response. An estimated 400,000 people are still living in IDP camps, mostly in the capital Port-au-Prince. Now that the immediate emergency response has transitioned into an early recovery phase there is an opportunity to develop a coherent strategy for tackling HIV/AIDS in Haiti.

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