Chile – Intercultural Inclusion to Improve the HIV Response

  • November 18, 2015
  • News

vih21-07-620x363In a conference between indigenous doctors, PAHO, UNAIDS and the Chilean Ministry of Health it was stated that the HIV response must include therapists from the indigenous cultures and antiretroviral treatment to prevent more deaths.

In Lampa, Chile, National Network of Original Peoples in Response to HIV/AIDS (RENPO) convened leaders and doctors from around the country to ask for antiretroviral therapies and traditional medicines for the indigenous people living with HIV. The conference took place in the Family Health Center Dr. José Bauza.

Willy Morales, president of RENPO, said the aim was to bring together therapists of the medical systems from the nine indigenous peoples, representatives of the Ministry of Health, and international organizations to discuss antiretroviral drugs.

Morales expressed that the official and indigenous medicine should be respected, because “we have brothers that only take medications of their culture.”

“To reach the 90-90-90 goal, UNAIDS and PAHO should recognize the indigenous medicine.  To reach 0, the original peoples should be considered key groups and in order to have a 2.0 treatment there must be cultural identity”, said Morales.

The leader expects that this meeting will be the beginning of similar activities throughout Latin America, and that the Chilean Government will promote HIV prevention campaigns aimed at indigenous population and the usage of its language.

According to Morales, the nine peoples agreed that HIV is not a natural disease; if it were the answer would be on the earth. Indigenous people infected must take antiretroviral medicine.

According to anthropologist Malva-marina Pedrero, AIDS kills more indigenous people than non-indigenous people, because of barriers to early diagnosis and treatment.

Similarly, it is essential that indigenous peoples raise their voices to demand that their indigenous doctors be part of the response to this pandemic and, on the other hand, antiretroviral drugs be fully validated as treatment for a disease that does not have a therapeutic repertoire from their own cultures.

Certainly, progress has been made towards an intercultural dialogue to achieve the 90-90-90 goals. The counterpart just needs to take the challenge.