By Zach Dyer, in the Tico Times News, December 1, 2014
(Link to article at bottom)
Nearly half of all HIV-positive people in Costa Rica are unemployed or not looking for work, according to a recent survey. The results were first published on Nov. 27 amid several events leading up to World AIDS Day on Monday.
An HIV and AIDS awareness parade took place in San José on Saturday, and on Monday the Costa Rican Social Security System is hosting a free event in Parque Central from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., where they will provide rapid results HIV tests, information about the virus, free condoms and health advice.
Juan Carlos Zamora, director of the Costa Rican Demographic Association that carried out the study, told The Tico Times that the unemployment rate is one of several alarming results they discovered. Zamora said a constellation of factors contribute to the dire economic conditions in which many people with the immunodeficiency virus find themselves, from missed job opportunities to pressure to leave their neighborhoods or places of work, to health complications that could prevent them from working. For example:
These same anxieties spill over into respondents’ private lives, too:
More than 9,800 Costa Ricans over 15 years old have HIV as of 2013, according to estimates from ONUSIDA. The Costa Rican Social Security System, known as the Caja, reported that 6,218 people have HIV in Costa Rica. Public hospitals diagnosed 694 new cases in the last year, the agency reported Thursday.
Men remain the group most affected by the virus in Costa Rica, representing 80 percent of the cases, according to the Health Ministry. Men who have sex with men are the group most at risk for infection. The rate of HIV infection has grown here between 2002 and 2013, from 8.6 to 14.6 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Ingrid Anne Stavrica
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