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HIV in the Dominican Republic: Progress, Challenges, and the Role of PrEP

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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HIV in the Dominican Republic: Progress, Challenges, and the Role of PrEP

In the Dominican Republic, the HIV virus remains a significant health concern, with approximately 79,000 individuals living with the virus. The highest prevalence is among the male population, accounting for 56% of the cases, according to authoritative sources Onusida and Conavihsida.

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HIV Progress and Challenges

Between 1996 and 2015, the Dominican Republic saw a significant decrease in HIV infections, from 10,000 infections annually to 3,500. However, the tide changed when new infections started to rise, particularly among the Haitian population residing in the Dominican Republic.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) demonstrated the importance of cross-border collaboration and civil society partnerships in addressing migrant access to vital healthcare. PEPFAR officials acknowledged the need for trusted civil society mechanisms to tackle the healthcare challenge on Hispaniola, leading to the establishment of churches and grassroots nonprofits providing care and information sharing.

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By 2021, 93% of HIV positive individuals among the migrant and Dominican Haitian population knew their status, a significant improvement in awareness.

PrEP and Black Americans

Beyond the Dominican Republic, the article also explores the challenges faced by Black Americans in accessing PrEP, a medication that could lower HIV rates in the community. It throws light on the glaring and widening inequities in PrEP prescriptions, with a significant disparity between White and Black individuals who could benefit from PrEP.

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The barriers include lack of healthcare access, financial burdens, and a lack of education about the benefits of PrEP in the Black community. These hurdles are contributing to the persistent health disparities related to HIV.

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