Mexico’s health authorities and Chiapas’ Governor Rutilio Escandon signed the General Covenant for the Coordination for Strengthening Medical Assistance to People Who Suffer From HIV. The signing took place in the wake of the implementation of the Strategy for Universal Access to Antiretroviral Therapy (TAR) for Girls, Boys and Adolescents who Suffer from the HIV virus in the state of Chiapas.
“This agreement promotes effective, free and universal access to TAR. This way, girls, boys and adolescents in Chiapas will access treatment no matter their affiliation [to a social security institution] in whichever health clinic close to their homes,” announced CENSIDA.
Although Chiapas has the most specialized units for HIV attention, not all children can easily arrive to these medical facilities. Moreover, many are not affiliated to any social security institution, much less the one closer to their home. Through this agreement, children in Chiapas will be able to receive HIV treatment at any medical unit of Chiapas’s Ministry of Health, IMSS or ISSSTE.
“With the signing of the collaboration agreement, INSABI will give safe continuity to medicine supply regardless of the social security affiliation and contribute to the training of 1,040 health professionals in Chiapas,” said Juan Antonio Ferrer, General Director, INSABI.
In Mexico, over 2,700 people 18 years old or younger have HIV, said Alethse de la Torre, Director, CENSIDA. According to WHO, the distance to clinics, stigma, the difficulty to administer treatment to children and lack of training and medicine are the barriers hindering access to treatment. In children under 16 years old, HIV is primarily transmitted during pregnancy and birth or through breast milk, according to INSP. The risk of a mother passing the virus to her child can be reduced to 5 percent if she has access to TAR during maternity, said UNAIDS.
Globally, 1.5 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2020. During 2021, 14,274 new HIV cases were diagnosed in Mexico. In 2020, 680,000 people died from HIV related illnesses worldwide and 4,557 people lost their lives in Mexico from this disease, as reported by MBN. In the country, HIV cases are mainly concentrated among men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and their clients, prisoners, migrants and intravenous drug users.
Mexico has committed to the eradication and prevention of HIV and it is one of the eight countries where the Mosaico HIV vaccine is being tested. Currently, the vaccine is in Phase 3 trials. Although results will be available in approximately four years, Mosaico hopes to be able to counter HIV contagion and the AIDS epidemic.