Cuba – Stigma and discrimination remain a problem

  • September 11, 2014
  • News


According to Grupo de Prevención del Sida (Gpsida), a group of people of the national network of volunteer promoters for the prevention and control enforcement of safe practices to stop the AIDS epidemic, health services are among the areas where still cases of discrimination are being reported.
“Every time I go to the dental clinic in my community, I am always the last to be served. Health workers arise an unusual stir” said Mr. Frank Pérez, diagnosed with HIV in 1999. “I guess they should have the same security measures with me than with the rest of the patients”, said Mr. Pérez again.
Although respect and inclusion of people with HIV and AIDS are constant in the local activism, a differential treatment for those with HIV still persists, which brings as a consequence intolerance towards a community of more than 16,400 Cubans who have the virus.

On the other hand, Daniel Portela, a Doctor in the Instituto de Medicina Tropical Pedro Kourí, in Havana, said the following “One day I was doing an ultrasound to a patient, but suddenly he stood up and said to me: -No, wait! In my province doctors always touch me with gloves”.
With these cases, discussed in this article, we can say that both health care providers and the community itself continues to stigmatize people with HIV, and even worst, people with HIV themselves tend to auto stigma and discrimination.

Nancy de la Caridad Mora, of the national network, said “We have to tackle discrimination more widely and denounce those who discriminate. It is not enough to lament the fact. We have to stop it”. The question we ask ourselves is, do people with HIV know where they can denounce these acts? Is there any agency in charge of this?
Cuba remains as one of the lowest infection rates in the Caribbean, and in 2013, the country achieved a 7.5 % decline of the AIDS-related mortality. The epidemic is concentrated in men who have sex with other men (HSH). 81.5% of cases detected in 2013, were men, and 18.5% women.

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