HIV infection among indigenous communities at the Amazon River Basin. Case studies and educational intervention
H F Neira1, J M Carbonó1, Y Castillo1, R García Bernal2
1Public Health Secretary of Amazonas , Leticia, Colombia; 2UNAIDS, Bogotá, Colombia
Background: Between 1998 and 2000, four AIDS cases among indigenous population had been reported from Tarapaca, La Pedrera, and Puerto Narino, small and remote towns of the Colombian Amazonas Department. Patients belonged to Witoto and Ticuna communities. On of these patients was a primary health worker.
Methods: In coordination with the Regional Indigenous Council and the Public Health Regional authorities, field study of HIV index cases and search for contacts were conducted in each one of the three towns where cases were reported. Individual Counseling was offered and voluntary serological tests for HIV infection and sifilis were performed. Educational intervention was also carried out, involving rural health primary workers from the same communities visited.
Results: A total of 320 persons-majority of them from indigenous communities – received individual counseling and were tested for HIV infection and sifilis. One of the reported index cases had already died of AIDS. Five HIV infections and three cases of sifilis were confirmed. Around 200 persons-health workers, educators, and community leaders- participated in the educational workshops. Local communities leaders shared their own religious and cultural approach towards health and sexuality related issues. Access and adherence to antiretroviral treatment was one of the main issues treated between public health authorities and local communities’ leaders.
Conclusions: It is a fact that HIV epidemics is already expanding among Amazonian indigenous communities, and therefore, sustainable prevention actions with them should be enforced. However, these actions must be oriented and consensed with the local indigenous communities’ leaders, taking into account their own cultural beliefs and customs.
The XIV International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. C10872
” H F Neira , , et al. HIV infection among indigenous communities at the Amazon River Basin. Case studies and educational intervention . Print Only: The XIV International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. C10872″