Facind AIDS in Costa Rica
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The 1st AIDS case was diagnosed in Costa Rica in 1985. By January 1988, 47 cases were recorded. Most cases are in hemophiliacs and homosexuals; one is in the heterosexual partner of a hemophiliac. 55% of hemophiliacs in Costa Rica are infected with HIV -- one of the highest levels in the world. 10 women, including 2 prostitutes, are known to be HIV-positive. The number of new cases is expected to nearly double every year, and deaths from AIDS may come to exceed deaths from diarrhea and all other infectious diseases. Since 1985, all donated blood has been screened. A national education campaign began in 1985, using television, talks, workshops, and pamphlets, and coordinated by the National AIDS Commission. AIDS education is included in secondary and high school curricula, and condoms have been distributed in gay discotheques and other public places since 1987. Failure to recognize the problem early enough resulted in fear of and discrimination against AIDS patients by health workers as well as failure to provide enough funds for AIDS prevention and control.
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