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Report: Latin America at risk for HIV explosion

Report: Latin America at risk for HIV explosion

A report issued by the World Bank suggests that while HIV has tended to be limited to high-risk groups in Latin America, the virus is beginning to make roads into the general population, which could lead to exploding infection rates throughout the region. While many Latin American countries have increased their AIDS-fighting efforts, these measures are hindered by inadequate resources and reporting, poor health care, and prejudice, according to the report, titled "HIV/AIDS in Latin American Countries: The Challenges Ahead." Except in Honduras and southeastern Brazil, where HIV has reached the general population, infections in the region remain concentrated in high-risk groups, such as prisoners, injection drug users, sex workers, and men who have sex with men. Heterosexual sex is the main mode of transmission in southern Brazil and Central America. Sex between men is the main transmission mode in South America. Injection drug use plays a significant role in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile. Only Argentina reported injection drug use as the main avenue of transmission, accounting for 41% of cases. In all the countries, more men than women live with AIDS. But that gap is closing, thanks to earlier age of first intercourse and violence against women. The report authors called for greater cooperation between governments and nongovernmental organizations, and they said civil organizations should work more closely with high-risk groups to prevent HIV from spreading into the general population.

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