Thanks to the financial support of the Red Centroamericana de Personas con VIH (REDCA+), the Observatorio Ciudadano en Derechos Humanos y vih in Panama drafted a report on the People with HIV Stigma Index Report in Panama.
According to the team that coordinated the information gathering, the data were not what they expected. The results showed very low percentages of people who reported having suffered some type of violation to their rights. However, it is known of cases of discrimination towards people with HIV, many of which go unpunished. Therefore, even when the levels of stigma and discrimination in the index are low, it is still valuable to make public and political impact to all parties involved in the processes of decision-making in the country.
Similarly, the representative of Observatorio Ciudadano en Derechos Humanos y vih in Panama, Dayra García, calls on all key actors in Panama and the region to use this information in a way in which they can achieve a huge impact.
On the other hand, Dr. Aurelio Núñez recommended everyone to work together in order to rescue all information that could help to improve the lives of people with HIV. He also advised not to destroy the data of this first index.
Another relevant factor is the high percentage of people with HIV who are suicidal. Otoniel Ramírez, Secretary of the Red Centroamericana de Personas con vih (REDCA +), believes that this is “a reality shared by several countries in Central America, and we must deal with it”.
In a country where information about the context of the epidemic and its impact is very limited; this HIV Stigma Index Report is an invaluable contribution to the definition of policies and actions on the response to HIV.
Finally, the results of this study, as well as those of the other countries of Central America will be published soon on the website of the REDCA+ (www.redca.org)