DomRep to fight HIV/AIDS with $75M in US funds
Associated Press
2010-08-18 06:31 AM
The U.S. government is donating $75 million to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Dominican Republic, where officials link a rise in cases to migration from Haiti, home to the highest infection rate in the Caribbean.

The money will be used in the next five years to train medical personnel and educate vulnerable groups starting in September, said David Losk, local coordinator for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.

He said some health officials in the Dominican Republic still refuse to treat HIV/AIDS patients because of discrimination and fear of becoming infected.

Losk said health authorities also will use the money to educate immigrants, impoverished women and those living along the border about safe-sex practices, health services and reducing transmission between mothers and children.

About 1 percent of the adult population of the Dominican Republic has HIV/AIDS, compared with 2.2 percent for neighboring Haiti.

Migration from impoverished Haiti has led to a rise in HIV/AIDS cases in the Dominican Republic, Losk said, though he did not provide statistics on the increase or how much effect migration has had.

It is PEPFAR's second grant to the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. The Dominican Republic received $15 million from PEPFAR from 2006 to 2008.

PEPFAR was created in 2003 under former President George W. Bush.

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