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Agency says new HIV cases in Solidaridad continue to rise

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Local aids agency says that the HIV growth rate in Playa del Carmen continues, with more than 150 new cases each year.

Rudolf Geers, president of Vida Positiva A.C says that the municipality of Solidaridad has approximately 10,000 known cases of HIV, a figure that has continued to increase over the past three years. He says they screen about 7,500 people each year in Playa del Carmen and have found that due to population growth and a decrease in condom use, new HIV cases continue to appear.

He explained that during their survey, the organization has found that “50 percent percent of men who are in a stable relationship say that in the last 12 months they’ve had sex with other people who are not their partners.” In regards to women, he says “It is almost 40 percent”.

“The sector that uses condoms the most are men who have relationships with men, but only 3 percent use protection. This does not imply that the rest never use it, but that answers were sometimes yes and sometimes no,” he added.

As part of their overall survey results, he says that every year there is a downward trend toward the use of condoms, and that they have found only 1 percent of respondents in Solidaridad say they always use condoms during sexual relations.

He says that the figure of 10,000 known HIV carriers in Solidaridad was calculated in 2014 when the population was estimated at around 200,000. But due to the high transient rate and fast population growth, no new exact figures over the last three years have been recorded, only that unofficially there are approximately 260,000 people and a likely higher transmission number.

Geers explained that each year they apply an average of 7,500 HIV tests with a prevalence rate of 2 percent of new cases, “plus those who do not get tested and who do not know they are carriers.”

He explains they have also detected mothers with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), who learn they are carriers after giving birth, and who have infected their children.

“Solidarity, like all places in the world, can lower cases, but until the condom is used, it will not happen,” he said.