The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Venezuela has reached a bleak point, and it doesn’t affect just the LGBT population, but everyone, infants and children included.
Venezuela boasted a robust HIV program in the 90’s but now it has deteriorated. Hospitals and pharmacies no longer have any medication due to the economic crisis that hit in 2015. On top of not having the medication, there are no condoms or access to HIV tests.
Along with the lack of medicine and contraceptives, baby formula is hard to come by, which helps mothers prevent transmitting the virus to their children when breast feeding.
Mauricio Gutierrez, a LGBT advocate and social worker, who is also HIV positive, said of the situation, “it’s a matter of life and death. We’re being persecuted and fighting for our human rights, our lives and our health.” People have asked the government to allow international organizations to bring in the needed medical supplies, but it was blocked. Advocates and health professionals have put the blame for the epidemic on the government ever since.
While the situation is horrible, people, like Gutierrez, are fighting and advocating to turn things around in the country.
H/T: HIV Plus Magazine