XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Coexistence of the Virgen de Guadalupe and HIV preventive strategies: a faith based organization response to HIV and migration in Mexico

C. Infante1, R. Leyva2, F. Quintino3, N. Gómez4, D. Edelmann5

1National Institute of Public Health, Center of Health Systems Research, Cuernavaca, Mexico, 2National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, CHRS, Cuernavaca, Mexico, 3National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, CHSR, Cuernavaca, Mexico, 4Jurisdiccion Sanitaria No VII, Tapachula, Chiapas, Programa de VIH/SIDA, Tapachula, Mexico, 5Servicios de Salud del Estado de Chiapas, Programa estatal de VIH/SIDA, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico

Issues: Globally, there is concern that migration and population mobility are associated with HIV transmission. However, research highlights the vulnerability of migrants to HIV infection as a result of political, social and economic inequality. In Mexico, a positive social response to migration and AIDS has originated within the Casas del Migrante (CM), a faith based organization that provides spiritual, humanitarian and legal assistance. We will present some of the most important results of this strategy.
Description: Since 2007, the National Institute of Public Health has developed with local HIV&AIDS prevention programs and CM, in both southern and northern Mexican borders, a comprehensive strategy to prevent HIV. The strategy includes basic HIV information, promotion of condom use, access to HIV rapid tests, and to ARVT. This strategy has proven to be successful: 18,544 migrants (40% of the total) have received information on HIV and human rights; 1,200 HIV rapid tests have been applied ( 2% prevalence), and 54,000 condoms have been distributed. Also, 90% of migrants reported learning something new in relation to HIV and recognize they have had an opportunity to reflect on their risks and vulnerability.
Lessons learned: In a context such as the Mexican, where catholic religion is a vast majority, we present results of an effective preventive strategy based on the active collaboration between community faith based organizations, local governmental programs and academic institutions. This approach allows the empowerment and capacity building of social organizations providing them with political and social visibility.
Next steps: This strategy has received recognition from the Mexican and Guatemalan Governments and international agencies, and has been scaled up to ten CM in Mexico and Central America. The strategy is currently being adapted to the context of five frontiers in South America and a civil human rights observatory in El Salvador.

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