In Haiti, Collapsed AIDS Clinics Fret Over New Challenges | 03-01-2010

Haiti, which once had the highest rate of HIV/AIDS outside of sub-Saharan Africa, has in
recent years seen a decrease in infections. Once lumped into what some called the US Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention’s ‘4-H club’ of risk factors—homosexuals, hemophiliacs,
heroin users and Haitians—the country’s HIV incidence plunged from around 6% in
1995 to closer to 2% in recent years. But the 12 January earthquake that shattered the lives of
Haitians and destroyed more than half of the AIDS clinics in Port-au-Prince could threaten to reverse this progress.

Profamil, an affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), saw
two of its clinics, one in Port-au-Prince and another in Jacmel, reduced to rubble in the
quake. After the disaster, it organized mobile health units to provide basic health care and
HIV prevention services to the temporary shelters in and around both cities. Even so, “the
distribution chain is uneven because of the chaos,” says Carmen Barroso, IPPF’s director
for the Western Hemisphere, who worries that antiretrovirals and contraceptives are not
getting to all those who need them.

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