Fighting HIV/AIDS and Malaria in Honduras

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On May 1st, 2008, CHF became the principal recipient in Honduras for a six-year HIV/AIDS program and an eight-month Malaria bridge funding program, both of which are supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. These awards are a continuation of a five-year program that was also supported by the Global Fund.

Honduras has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS infections in Central America. According to a 2006 UNAIDS report, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among adults is 1.5 percent. It is estimated that there are currently 63,000 Hondurans living with HIV/AIDS. Of those people who need antiretroviral treatment, less than half actually receive the necessary drugs. Honduras is also affected by high rates of malaria. Although it makes up only 17 percent of Central America’s population, Honduras is home to 40 percent of the region’s malaria cases. A majority of the 10,122 reported cases of the disease are concentrated in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Choluteca, Juticalpa, and Comayagua.

As the principal recipient, CHF International is working closely with Honduras’ public health sector including the Ministry of Health and civil society organizations. The HIV/AIDS program focuses on stigma reduction, prevention, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV. Outreach efforts focus particularly among groups with higher HIV prevalence or vulnerability including commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), prisoners, members of the Garífuna (Afro-Caribbean) ethnic group, at-risk youth, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and pregnant women. The program goals include achieving an HIV prevalence rate of below 1 percent, improving the survival rate of patients on antiretroviral treatment to 95 percent and reducing mother to child transmission of the virus by 90 percent in the next six years.

CHF oversees the efforts of its various partners to implement a holistic and integrated approach to combating HIV/ AIDS. Activities include prevention programs that target at-risk populations through community outreach, behavioral change communication (BCC), and increased Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) nationwide. CHF is also working with the Ministry of Health’s National AIDS program to provide greater access to antiretroviral treatments (ART) by increasing the number of integrated care centers in the country while also improving stock management, warehousing and distribution systems for pharmaceuticals. To achieve the goals of the program, CHF is working with a variety of organizations, ranging from the Ministry of Health to Asociación Kukulcan, a gay rights advocacy group, to the United Nations Population Fund.

CHF operates the malaria project in close coordination with the National Malaria program to reduce the incidence of the disease in high-risk areas by implementing an eco-systemic approach to prevention and improving the capacity of municipalities to respond to outbreaks of the disease. Specifically, the program works to improve malaria treatment and diagnosis services in rural areas, streamline national malaria standards, and establish risk mapping services and a malaria information sub-system to disseminate information about disease prevalence throughout the country.