‘Government is failing us’: Organizations raid Minsal’s work on HIV/AIDS

To ask the government to work together, organizations of people living with HIV raided a Ministry of Health (Minsal) activity on the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as part of World Health Day fight against infection Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

The intervention was led by Sebastián Mancilla, spokesman of the Social Table of Organizations of People Living with HIV, who read a petition in front of the authorities and people present at the activity.

Among others, organizations require:

  • New National Plan.
  • Meeting with Minister Ximena Aguilera.
  • Increased resource allocation and reformulation of the UNACESS (Sexual Health Care and Monitoring Unit) for greater coverage of people with HIV, especially for sex workers, migrants and transgender people.
  • Active and binding participation of civil society as part of the HIV/AIDS response in the design and implementation of preventive media campaigns.
  • Urgent increase in doses of monkeypox vaccine to cover groups at greatest risk, and especially people living with HIV.

“The organizations that make up this letter are available to collaborate with the government of Chile, as long as we find acceptance of our words,” said Mancilla, according to CNN Chile. And he added: “In times when social organizations have disengaged themselves from the government and try to generate political actions from the outside, we say: the government has advanced to this point hand in hand with the social movements, it has managed to win elections as regards social movements”.

The spokesman said that, as organizations, “we want the government not to forget the social movements, in order to work together. We are not out of absolute distrust, but rather we are trying to generate a vote of confidence again, regain trust, because in this the government is failing us at the moment.” The letter from the entities was received by Minister Aguilera.

Health Minister Announces Monkeypox Pre-Exposure Vaccination, HIV/AIDS Self Test and HIV-STI Campaign

Minister Aguilera presented the 2022 communication campaign for the prevention of HIV and STIs “Great moments to take care of yourself”, an activity that took place at the Municipal Theater of San Miguel and saw the participation of organizations of civil society.

“The State of Chile has had a constant commitment to the fight against HIV and at this moment we can consider ourselves, despite the many challenges, in a very responsible way, that we are moving towards the elimination of sexual transmission routes,” said l ‘authority.

With regard to the monkey vaccine, he specified that “to date, the vaccination process was aimed only at people considered, by the Health Authority, as close contacts. From today we have extended the vaccination to people or groups of people who may be at greater risk of contracting the virus. Among them are people on PREP treatment, people with HIV and immunodeficiency, healthcare personnel, especially those working with direct cases or specimen collection; men who have sex with other men and trans people, among others”.

In Chile there are 1,292 confirmed cases, of which 997 were discharged, 19 probable cases and 2 deaths. 98.2% of them are men and the outbreaks identified include participation in events of a sexual nature such as cruising, gay saunas, private nudist parties and the use of dating applications for casual sexual encounters. Meanwhile, 52.3% said they were living with the HIV virus.

In relation to the self-test, he said that “what it allows is that with a little examination you know at the same time whether you are at risk of being infected or not and this speeds up the detection capability. What we seek is to further facilitate access to this diagnosis. What it allows is for the person with a small test to know at the same time whether or not they are at risk of being infected and this speeds up the detection capability ”.

The Minister of Health assured that “every year we diagnosed about 4,000 cases at the beginning of this decade, we reached a maximum of almost 7,000 cases in 2018 and subsequently, following the pandemic, research activities decreased, with the which we have reached about 4 thousand cases. We do not believe this is due to a decline in incidence, but rather because we need to be more aggressive in the detection campaign”. Hence this set of measures (vaccination, self-test and campaign) which respond to a global and permanent strategy of the Ministry of Health.

In Chile, 89% percent of people are aware of being a carrier, only 77% are under control and of these, 97% of treatment efficacy is achieved. “We guarantee care through Explicit Health Guarantees (GES) that HIV is a priority issue. Around 66 thousand people are under control, of which 50 thousand in the public sector. It is also important to know that the estimates of the prevalence of the disease are 0.6% of the population and that these are done with modelling, we have to carry out surveys to subsequently validate these figures and that these figures are much higher in men than in women, fluctuating between 1.1% and 0.2%”, assured the Secretary of State.

Campaign of comunication

Minister Aguilera, together with the Undersecretary for Public Health, Tania Herrera, and the Undersecretary for Care Networks, Fernando Araos, led the launch of the 2022 HIV and STIs prevention communication campaign “Great moments to take care of yourself “.

It is a “mother campaign”, aimed at the general population, over 14 years of age, with promotional messages for personal and collective care in sexual health and HIV and STI prevention, 3 communication modules with guidelines are set specific for various target populations. Some of the modules are:

  • “Prevention of HIV transmission in people living with the virus, alluding to prevention technologies available in the public system”, aimed at people living with HIV and serodiscordant couples.
  • “Recognition of different sexual practices with a focus on sexual and reproductive health care”, targeting populations at greatest risk of contracting the virus, such as HcH, polyamorous people, crusaders, etc., speaking to them in relevant and current language .
  • “Awareness for Zero Stigma and Zero Discrimination”, aimed at the entire population with particular attention to migrants and native peoples.
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