Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chile: Achievements in AIDS Fight Marred by Irregularities

Soledad Barria, the health minister to Chile, has resigned on account of the AIDS scandal that has surfaced in regard to the government’s failure to notify people who tested positive for AIDS. Twenty-five people who tested positive for AIDS in 2004 were not notified, and two of them died. This occurred in the northern Tarapacá region of Chile. This carelessness has threatened Chile’s “exemplary image in the field of AIDS prevention and treatment”.

Four of the twenty-five people have still not been notified, as two of them left the country, one is homeless, and another is a mentally ill man. The scandal occurred when 34-year-old Dearnny Aguilar died from an pneumonia. She did not take the antiretroviral treatment that very well may have saved her life. Her husband also died due to AIDS.

The scandal revealed that many people do not return for their results and often provide false personal information. Therefore, this issue is much more complex than governmental ineffectiveness.  The Health Committee in the lower house of Congress is considering improving the 2001 AIDS Law, or making it so that HIV tests are not “voluntary” and “confidential”. 

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