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Home > Countries & Regions > Latin America
Updated June 2011
Regional Overview
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Epidemiology and Trends
Health and Development Profiles
Guidelines and Best Practices
Surveys and Assessments
Policy Reports and Papers
Provider Education and Training
International Organizations
HIV/AIDS Web Sites
Conferences and Events
News Sources and Periodicals
Comprehensive Indicator Report
Focus on Care and Treatment
Country Profiles
HIV/AIDS in Latin America
Population, 2013564,000,000
People living with HIV/AIDS, 20121,500,000
Women (aged 15+) with HIV/AIDS, 2012440,000
Children with HIV/AIDS, 201240,000
Adult HIV prevalence (%), 20120.4
AIDS deaths, 201252,000
nd = No data
Source: Population Reference Bureau & UNAIDS
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Regional Overview

Abstracted from the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, UNAIDS, November 2010.

Epidemiology and Trends

The HIV epidemics in South and Central America have changed little in recent years. The total number of people living with HIV continues to grow to an estimated 1.4 million [1.2 million - 1.6 million] in 2009 from 1.1 million [1.0 million - 1.3 million] in 2001) due largely to the availability of antiretroviral therapy. About one third of all people living with HIV in Central and South America live in populous Brazil, where early and ongoing HIV prevention and treatment efforts have contained the epidemic. The adult HIV prevalence in Brazil has remained well under 1% for at least the past decade. Concentrated epidemics - primarily among men who have sex with men Most of the HIV epidemics in this region are concentrated in and around networks of men who have sex with men. Surveys conducted in groups of urban men who have sex with men have found HIV prevalence of at least 10% in 12 of 14 countries, including in Costa Rica. High rates of HIV infection have been found in networks of men who have sex with men. In five Central American countries, the annual HIV incidence was 5.1% among men who have sex with men, while an incidence of 3.5% has been found among men who have sex with men who attended public health clinics in Lima, Peru. Th ese rates were higher than those observed among the men who have sex with men in Europe and North America.

Social stigma, however, has kept many of these epidemics among men who have sex with men hidden and unacknowledged. Several countries, especially in Central America and in the Andes, continue to have fewer programs that address the key role of unsafe sex between men in their HIV epidemics. Fear of being stigmatized can compel many men who have sex with men to also have sexual relationships with women. In Central America, for example, more than one in five men who said that they had sex with other men reported having had sex with at least one woman in the previous six months.

Most countries have focused attention on preventing HIV transmission during paid sex, and there are indications that these efforts are paying off. High condom use rates and low HIV prevalence have been reported among female sex workers in Santiago, Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Injecting drug use has been the other main route of HIV transmission in this region, especially in the southern cone of South America. It has been estimated that as many as 2 million people in Central and South America inject drugs and that more than one quarter of these might be living with HIV.

Health and Development Profiles
AIDS Epidemic Update Regional Summary - Latin America
UNAIDS, April 16, 2008. [PDF, 216K] Also in Spanish, French, and Russian.
Fact Sheet: AIDS Epidemic in Latin America
UNAIDS, December 2006. [PDF, 51K] Also in Spanish, French, and Russian.
Guidelines and Best Practices
Tratamiento antirretroviral de la infección por el VIH en adultos y adolescentes en Latinoamérica y el Caribe: en la ruta hacia el acceso universal
Pan American Health Organization, 2008. In Spanish. [PDF, 963K]
Guía práctica para la implementación de pruebas fiables
Pan American Health Organization, 2008. In Spanish. [PDF, 686K]
Building Blocks: Comprehensive Care Guidelines for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS in the Americas
Pan American Health Organization, October 2002. In Spanish.
Surveys and Assessments
AIDS Surveillance in the Americas
Biannual Report, Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization, June 2002. [PDF, 273K] Also in Spanish. [PDF, 560K]
Policy Reports and Papers
Promoción de la Salud Sexual y Prevención del VIH-Sida y de las ITS en los Pueblos Indígenas de las Américas
Organización Panamericana de la Salud, 2005. [PDF, 662K]
Patients under Antiretroviral Treatment in Latin America and the Caribbean
Pan American Health Organization, August 3, 2003. In English and Spanish.
Special Report: AIDS in the Caribbean and Latin America
amFAR Global Initiatives, 2003. Provides a regional overview of the epidemic and corresponding governmental responses, and lists regional resources.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the Americas
128th PAHO Executive Committee in Washington, DC, June 25-29, 2001. [PDF, 121K]
HIV and AIDS in the Americas: An Epidemic with Many Faces
PAHO, WHO, and UNAIDS, April 2001. [PDF, 369K]
Provider Education and Training
Infecciones de transmisiónes sanguínea o sexual entre personas que se injectan drogas y sus parejas en las Américas: Manual para profesionales de la salud
Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo de España, Organización Panamericana de la Salud, 2004.[PDF, 6MB]
International Organizations
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Resource page for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Pan American Health Organization
Regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization. HIV/AIDS related activities include:
Antiretrovirals: Resource Page for Latin America and the Caribbean
Covers access, price, and policy information.
PAHO HIV Newsletter
HIV/AIDS Web Sites
Consejo Latinoamericano y del Caribe de Organizaciones No Gubernamentales con Servicio en VIH/SIDA (LACCASO)
Regional secretariat of International Council of AIDS Service Organizations. Strengthens capacity of NGOs to promote and advocate for the adoption of policies and programs at national and regional level that protect and promote the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and the communities most affected. In Spanish and English.
HIV InSite's Spanish language links page
Latin American PLHA Network, RED LA+
A Spanish-language site promoting the circulation of HIV/AIDS information among institutions and individuals. Site features an international forum for HIV/AIDS discussion.
Proyecto Accion SIDA de Centroamerica (PASCA)
Financed by USAID; provides technical assistance in HIV/AIDS/STD prevention to governments, NGOs, and the private sector in Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In English and Spanish.
Conferences and Events
The 4th Central American STD/HIV/AIDS Congress (CONCASIDA 2005), 3rd Forum on HIV/AIDS/STDs in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the 4th Central American Gathering of People Living with HIV/AIDS
San Salvador, El Salvador, November 7-11, 2005.
Second Regional Conference in Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development
Santiago, Chile, May 15-17, 2000. Also in Spanish.
News Sources and Periodicals
Calendario de Actividades en la Región
An up-to-date monthly calendar of events for each country in the region from PASCA.
Latin America Network Information Center (LANIC)
Includes links to major newspapers and journals and magazines. Links to country-specific information as well as several databases. A service of the University of Texas at Austin. Also in Spanish and Portuguese.