Vice-Minister of Health Lidieth Carballo on Monday announced a strategic plan to prevent HIV/AIDS and reduce the number of cases of this disease from 2006-2010.
The comprehensive plan was developed through a countrywide consensus reached by nonprofits, people with AIDS, members of civil society and the government, Carballo said.
It includes better dissemination of information about AIDS to schools around the country to prevent the disease and reduce discrimination and stigmas against people living with it.
It also includes plans to strengthen epidemiology, work with institutions and private companies, guarantee health care to those sick with AIDS and establish a database to research the disease in Costa Rica, among other goals.
Additionally, the Public Health Ministry is calling for educational campaigns so teach Costa Ricans to respect the rights of those who have AIDS.
Another goal is for 100% of the country’s teachers to receive training on AIDS to they can share this knowledge with their students.
Costa Rica does not have a database showing the number of people with AIDS, but the Public Health Ministry estimates that 15,000-18,000 Costa Ricans have the disease. However, only 3,196 cases of AIDS have been reported, 84% in men and the rest in women. Of these cases 2,850 people are receiving treatment.
The first case of AIDS in Costa Rica was reported in 1983; since then, 1,660 Costa Ricans have died from the disease.