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HIV cases on the rise in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. – More than 1,000 people were screened for HIV-AIDS last weekend at the AC Positive Life Association event held in downtown Playa del Carmen.

Rudolf Geers, association president, says that so far this year, they have done 4,000 examinations throughout the city with 2 percent of patients testing positive.

He said one of the main reasons for late detection is that the virus generally occurs in young people who believe they are immune to infections, especially those under the age of 20.

Since 2008, the number of people testing HIV positive in Playa del Carmen has grown by 670 percent,  according to the National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS (Censida). The civil association, Vida Positiva (Positive Life), is explaining the importance of using condoms and getting regular testing.

Geers was part of a meeting held at the beginning of this year where the Ministry of Health of Quintana Roo reported 150 deaths in 2013 from HIV complications. The Ministry also reported that during that same year, for every 100 infected people, 25 were women.

Greers explains that being infected is not synonymous with death, because now we know how to control the virus so that Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), is not developed.

Geers said that according to state data, the mortality rate of patients is 11 percent, but there was no public data from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS). As a parameter, he shared that in his native country of Germany, the mortality rate among infected patients is 0.7 percent.

Carlos Alberto Gonzalez Navarrete, investigator with the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico City, says that Playa del Carmen could register an increase of 33 percent in HIV cases.

He says that figures from of the National Center for the Prevention and Control of Human Immunodeficiency Virus AIDS (Censida) showed that the city had 232 infected people registered and taking antiretroviral drugs in 2014.

Statistics show that the largest growth of infections is among heterosexual females between the ages of 15 and 35, who in contrast, tend to believe that HIV only affects the male homosexual population.

“The official numbers at the end of 2014 are not yet available, however the references show that there are new cases of infections. We have an estimated increase, but remember that not all patients who are diagnosed seek treatment,” he explains.


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