MEXICO CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Beginning in Mexico in 2004, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) established a comprehensive Latin American bureau that provides medical staff support to nearly ten clinics in Mexico, Ecuador, and Guatemala, in addition to frequent testing and condom distribution initiatives throughout these countries. Additional Latin American expansion is already underway through the building of partnerships in Paraguay, Peru, and Argentina, where AHF will host a momentous opening ceremony to kick off services opening in Argentina this month.
AHF extended treatment, care, and testing services to the Caribbean island of Haiti in 2011, where men, women, and children are receiving care through the AHF Healthcare Center in the capital of Port-au-Prince, where hundreds still live in tent cities as the island continues to reel from the devastating 2010 earthquake on top of battling their heavy HIV/AIDS burden.
AHF is commemorating the milestone of reaching 200,000 clients worldwide with a campaign called “Every 1 Counts,” focusing on the patients who receive lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment through AHF Healthcare Centers. For patient testimonials, view the campaign video: “Every 1 Counts: 200,000 Patients in AHF Care Worldwide”. View a patient story from our Latin America/Caribbean Bureau: “Every 1 Counts: Salvador’s Story.”
“On a global level, I believe that AHF has a big responsibility, because they are not only treating people that live with HIV like me, but are also working in prevention so people don’t have to be in my situation,” said 24-year-old Salvador, an AHF Mexico client of about one and a half years. “I believe they are doing well in achieving it.”
An estimated 200,000 people in Mexico are living with HIV, according to the United Nations Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS). AHF began providing health, prevention, and education services in Mexico in 2004. Today, AHF Mexico provides care for more than 13,000. Through strong partnerships with both government and non-government organizations, AHF Mexico has become a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country, and has been invited to speak on behalf of that fight as guest speakers in Congress.
AHF Mexico client Salvador learned about his HIV status “right around the time AHF increased its HIV and testing initiatives” in his country, and he calls the timing of his diagnosis “an opportune coincidence.”
“I think AHF’s services are very good. It’s more than a healthcare institution – AHF is also a friend that reaches out to help me,” Salvador said.
Though AHF Mexico is headquartered in the country’s capital of Mexico City, the Foundation’s branch is having an impact in states throughout the large country thanks to partnerships such as Clinica Condesa. Such partnerships allow AHF Mexico to provide skilled doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to existing facilities in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Merida, Cancun, Pachuca, and Coatzacoalcos, where approximately 8,700 clients are being served.
The Caribbean nation of Haiti was already bearing the largest AIDS burden in the Caribbean when the country was devastated by an earthquake in January of 2010. AHF arrived the following year, launching services with the opening of an AHF Healthcare Center in the capital of Port-au-Prince in April 2011. Through this treatment center, AHF Haiti is providing lifesaving services to many. Additional HIV testing and condom distribution outreach activities also frequently take place in communities that are still largely impoverished “tent cities” on the road to recovery from the earthquake.
“Haiti is a country that has seen more than its fair share of devastation,” said Michael Kahane, AHF’s Southern U.S. Bureau Chief, who oversees Caribbean services. “When we opened the AHF Healthcare Center in a very poor and extremely underserved section of Port au Prince, most people had never seen a doctor and we were told that people would not support our public testing efforts because HIV is highly stigmatized in Haiti. Despite this warning, we had over 1,000 people line up for hours in the sweltering heat so that they could get tested and know their status.”
CENTRAL AMERICA: Guatemala & Ecuador
An estimated 65,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Guatemala. The highest prevalence rates are found among sex workers and men who have sex with men, however about 75% of new infections are attributed to heterosexual transmission. AHF Guatemala currently supports two healthcare centers in the country – the Ignacio Cohen Alcahe Clinic in Xela and a second facility in Peten – where more than 1,000 are receiving HIV/AIDS treatment and care. In Ecuador, where, according to UNAIDS, an estimated 35,000 people are living with HIV, AHF supports a healthcare center in Guayaquil that serves nearly 3,000 individuals.
SOUTH AMERICAN EXPANSION: Argentina, Paraguay, & Peru
AHF began building partnerships in Argentina, Paraguay and Peru in 2012, and while those bonds are still forming in Peru and Paraguay with promising prospects, the Foundation is prepared to begin providing care to those battling the virus in Argentina this month.
Through partnerships with local government and non-governmental organizations, AHF Argentina will provide skilled medical staff to an existing facility in Cordoba, Argentina’s second-largest city. AHF Argentina was already off to a great start after setting a Guinness World Record for most people tested in one city in one day by testing 3,377 people in Rosario on World AIDS Day (December 1) 2012.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to over 200,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @AIDSHealthcare