HIV/AIDS in Honduras
Honduras is home to 17% of Central America’s population. Honduras is also where 60% of the region’s HIV infections are reported. HIV is spreading slowly but steadily in many populations, and infections occur in equal proportions among men and women. The highest rates of HIV infection occur in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Prevalence in some vulnerable populations is high.
- A 2001 study showed a prevalence of greater than 8% in both men and women in the ethnic Garifuna population.
- Prevalence of 8 to 9% in female sex workers in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula was found in a 2001 study; and findings from a 2002 study showed a prevalence of 13% in female sex workers in San Pedro Sula.
- Studies in 2001 and 2002 showed prevalence of 16% in urban areas among men who have sex with men.
- A 1997 study found prevalence of 6.8% among military recruits.
AIDS is the leading cause of death among Honduran women of childbearing age and is the second-leading cause of hospitalization among both men and women. Sexually transmitted infections are common, and condom use in risky sexual encounters is sporadic and variable.
Among the Garifuna
According to the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S., 4.5 percent of the Garifuna population has HIV. The disease is often compounded by low incomes, lack of Media attention, lack of sex education, and gender dominance.
The article “Rapid Ethnographies Assessment of HIV/AIDS among Garifuna Communities in Honduras: Informing HIV Surveillance among Garifuna Women" shows that among individuals between the ages of 16-20, 5 percent of the population possesses HIV/AIDS. From the assessments made by (UNAIDS, 2004) over 60,000 people in the country live with HIV/AIDS with 44% of the Garifuna people suffering.
However, the Garifuna stand out for fighting the disease in unique ways. Whereas other places fight primarily with medicine, the Garifuna fight HIV/AIDS with music and dancing. Music is helping to heal the sorrow and tighten the community (Oliver N. Greene). The songs exhibit beliefs of the Garifuna people: cohesiveness, revival, and love. They also allow people from different cultures to experience their culture, asking for help through dancing and theater. Finding ways to help prevent infections is the main goal, but with small steps at a time.
National efforts to reduce the number of new HIV infections have been in place since the late 1980s. President Maduro has publicly committed himself to support the national response to HIV/AIDS, and HIV/AIDS is one of five health issues that receive priority government attention. A second national strategic plan for the 2002–2006 period is in place, but its focus and application have been stymied by a lack of national funds for its implementation. The national response to HIV/AIDS has been led by the Ministry of Health, with collaboration from other ministries and several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The ministry now provides antiretroviral treatment to more than 3,000 individuals with AIDS.
Honduras’s long-term plan is to prevent new infections and to provide services to those who are most at risk for HIV infection, including young people, sex workers, men who have sex with men, institutionalized persons, and the Garifuna ethnic group. Honduras has been promised more than $40 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and thus far has received $13.7 million to implement its long-term health goals, $7.98 million of which is specifically for HIV/AIDS. This grant, combined with bilateral assistance other countries, will allow Honduras to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the coming years.
- "Health Profile: Honduras". United States Agency for International Development (March 2005). Accessed September 7, 2008. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- “Rapid Ethnographies Assessment of HIV/AIDS among Garifuna Communities in Honduras: Informing HIV Surveillance among Garifuna Women.” Miriam Sabin, George Luber Keith, Sabin Mayte, Paredes Edgar, Monterroso. (2008)
- “In Honduras, fighting HIV/AIDS through Music and Theater” by Jens Erik Gould in 2013, March 29.