Experts from the World Health Organization met in Panama a few days ago in order to discuss issues in relation to policies aimed at the prevention of HIV among adolescents. This is a breakthrough if taking into account that the region of Central American lacked of specific policies.
“The issue of HIV is very sensitive and in adolescents cannot be approached in the same way as in adults,” said Victor Mejia, WHO consultant. “We have finally put the cards on the table with this issue,” he concluded.
On the other hand, Enrique Vega, head of the Unidad Vida Saludable, said that discussions held during the past five years, in his opinion, also represent a breakthrough. “Today, the majority of countries in the region have a part dedicated to health in adolescents; however, five years ago they did not have this”, said Enrique Vega.
Part of the meeting among the WHO experts was also to assess the results of a program that began in 2009 with the financial and technical support of Norway in an effort to reduce the rate of HIV transmission, and pregnancy among teenagers from Central America and parts of the Caribbean.
A statement from the WHO showed that since 2009 the countries included in this project have shown progress in the development of laws and policies in the area of health in adolescents.
“I don’t think that that numbers have been reduced; however, the issue has been recognized and addressed as important issue”, said Vega again. “We are now in a position to begin to generate specific impact indicators on the HIV prevalence in adolescents.”
According to WHO, there are more than two million young people aged 10-19 with HIV in the world. In Central America this prevalence in teenagers is medium to low.