Amplifying voices, highlighting concerns: impact of the earthquake on the HIV positive people in Haiti
J.C. Louis, A. Mishra
Panos Global AIDS Programme, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 12, 2010 an earthquake of catastrophic magnitude hit Haiti's capital,
Port-au-Prince. It left 200,000 people dead, 250,000 injured, one million homeless and many more displaced.
At the time there were 120,
000 people living with HIV in Haiti. Initial reports estimate that just under
70, 000 Positive People lived in the earthquake affected area, 19,000 of those were
on antiretroviral treatment (ART). Limited information is available on how the Positive
People are coping with this disaster. Prior to the earthquake Haiti was considered a success story in the response to HIV. But the
current situation is threatening to impede all the gains.
Haiti has been working on HIV and AIDS on the island for the past fifteen
years. It helped in facilitating the first support group of Positive People in
Haiti and built capacities of Positive
People in communicating their concerns. Simultaneously the organisation
initiated debates on access Positive People to HIV services and helped fight
stigma by training journalists to report sensitively on AIDS.
the aftermath of the quake , Panos Haiti would intensify its current work to highlight
the impact of the quake on access of Positive People to HIV services, and available
Lessons learned: Positive People are extremely affected by the crisis. All major health infrastructures are destroyed in the affected areas. Continued
access to life saving medicines and services to thousands of people living with
remains a big challenge. Over 500,000 people have left the capital to go to the
provinces. Networks of People Living with HIV report that they urgently need
food and water, tents, and hygiene kits.
Next steps: Panos Haiti will amplify the voices and concerns of the Positive
People, in Haiti, and to policy makers in the North through innovative communication tools and the media.
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