Systemic factors and barriers that hamper adequate data collection on the HIV epidemic and its associated inequalities in countries with long-term armed conflicts: Lessons from Colombia

Juan C. Alzate, Juan M. Pericàs, Holly Taylor, Joan Benach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although advances in treatment and diagnosis have transformed HIV into a chronic disease in high-income countries, a spectrum of structural, political, sociocultural, and health system barriers hamper early diagnosis and timely treatment of HIV in many middle- and low-income countries. In most Latin American countries, in spite of the great improvement in access to antiretroviral therapy, a large proportion of individuals infected with HIV do not know their status. In Colombia, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS currently estimates amuch larger number of HIV cases than the number reported by Colombian authorities. Potential reasons for underdiagnosis and underreporting include sociocultural factors such as social stigma, restrictions in access to health care, a lack of public health research and robust surveillance systems, and the particular recent history and social situation related to the armed conflict the country has suffered through for several decades. Lessons from Colombia may be helpful in monitoring, understanding, and tackling the HIV epidemic in countries with long-term armed conflicts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1341-1344
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Volume108
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

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Colombia
HIV
Social Stigma
Health Services Accessibility
United Nations
Armed Conflicts
Early Diagnosis
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Chronic Disease
Public Health
Joints
History
Health
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

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abstract = "Although advances in treatment and diagnosis have transformed HIV into a chronic disease in high-income countries, a spectrum of structural, political, sociocultural, and health system barriers hamper early diagnosis and timely treatment of HIV in many middle- and low-income countries. In most Latin American countries, in spite of the great improvement in access to antiretroviral therapy, a large proportion of individuals infected with HIV do not know their status. In Colombia, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS currently estimates amuch larger number of HIV cases than the number reported by Colombian authorities. Potential reasons for underdiagnosis and underreporting include sociocultural factors such as social stigma, restrictions in access to health care, a lack of public health research and robust surveillance systems, and the particular recent history and social situation related to the armed conflict the country has suffered through for several decades. Lessons from Colombia may be helpful in monitoring, understanding, and tackling the HIV epidemic in countries with long-term armed conflicts.",
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