XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Panama HIV/AIDS epidemiological situation: 1984-2009

A.E. Nuñez Maitin1,2, M. Mastelari3, G. Guerrero3, J.M. Pascale4

1Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies, Epidemiology, Panamá, Panama, 2OPS, Consultor, Panamá, Panama, 3Ministery of Health of Panamá, Epidemiology, Panamá, Panama, 4Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies, Genomic, Panamá, Panama

Background: The Republic of Panama is the southernmost country of Central America, situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America. Panama has a population of 3.36 million inhabitants. National epidemiological surveillance on HIV/AIDS initiated after the diagnosis of a first case, Haitian women, in 1984. The objective of this study is to describe the epidemiological characteristics of HIV infection.
Methods: HVI/AIDS national and epidemiological information from 1984 to 2009 was provided by the Department of Epidemiological Surveillance, Ministry of Health.
Results: A total of 10,381 HIV infected subjects were reported during the study period. Of these, 5,134 were HIV asymptomatic and 67.5% died because of AIDS. From 1984 to 1993, the cumulative incidence rate oscillated from 0.1 to 8.1 cases per 100.000 inhabitants and from 1994 to 2009, increased from 11.3 to 22.74. The male: female ratio for HIV/AIDS was 2.9:1. Most HIV infections (61%) are concentrated in the age group of 25-44 years. HIV transmission was mainly through sexual contact (69%). The most prevalent opportunistic infection was tuberculosis. During 2009, the prevalence of HIV infection in pregnant women was 0.3%.The accumulative AIDS transmission mode during 1984-2009 is as follows: homosexual 1,295 (12.5%) subjects, bisexual 418 (4.0%), heterosexual 5,460 (52.6%), blood transmission receptor 18 (0.2%), hemophiliac (17%), intravenous drug user 107 (1.1%), vertical (3.2%), and not specified mode 2,731 (26.2%).
Conclusions: To date, Panama has made efforts to provide free of charge diagnosis, monitoring, and anti-retroviral therapy in an intent to reduce HIV acquisition and transmission. HIV infection is affecting the young and most productive group of the population. More effective preventive interventions are required among high-risk populations in Panama.

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