IAS 2017: Intervention regarding humanitarian crisis in Venzuela
Intervention by Jesus Aguais IAS Conference Paris, France July 25, 2017
“I’m here to tell you about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and how this crisis is affecting people with HIV. My name is Jesus Aguais. I was born and raised in Caracas. I was diagnosed with HIV 29 years ago, a time when HIV diagnosis was a death sentence. Several months after my diagnosis, I was able to move to the US and lucky enough I’m still here. Now almost 30 years later my fellow Venezuelans living with HIV are faced with the same reality. For them, their HIV diagnosis also means a death sentence.
“The international AIDS conference is mainly focused on following up on progress in achieving the 90-90-90 goals. However, data from a 2017 report presented by UNAIDS here, show that Venezuela has only reached 7% viral suppression. THE WORST COUNTRY IN LATIN AMERICA AND AMONG THE 10 WORST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD. Venezuela has been left behind. Neither donors nor the Global Fund want to help.
“In the meantime:
120,000 people are reported living with HIV. And the real number its probably close to 300,000. There are at least 11,000 new infections every year. In 1999, 1242 people died of AIDS-related complications. In 2015, that number more than doubled.
Stock outs of ARVs have been going on for months, and 71,000 people have been directly affected. With 70% to 90% of treatment absent from the distribution chain. 80% of people living with HIV are without treatment today.
There are no viral load diagnostics tools; No HIV rapid tests.
There are no condoms or lubricants.
Women living with HIV are not able to prevent mother-to-child transmission. There is no baby formula and they is no HIV treatment. Women need to make the choice of breastfeeding and transmitting the virus to the babies or letting them starve to death.
Our indigenous community, Warao: in 2013 10% of the population was diagnosed with HIV and nothing was done about it. Now the number could be close to 20% or more.
“We call on all of you – we call on urgent, global solidarity. We need to get treatment to the people dying in Venezuela.
“Gilead, ViiV, Roche just to name a few pharmaceutical companies, can donate ARVs. The people of Venezuela need CD4 and viral load tests and HIV rapid tests.
“I urge you to join us sending this message to all pharmaceutical companies and to the international community.
“We know how to get the much-needed help into the hands of the people of Venezuela.
“Please support us. There is a flyer being distributed now.