UN Backs Free AIDS/HIV Tests in Guatemala

Guatemala City, Jul 29 (Prensa Latina) The UN in Guatemala is involved in promoting the campaign Take the HIV Test, to prevent and curb the AIDS virus from spreading.

Local UN agencies are praising the Guatemalan government initiative, which encourages citizens to exercise their right to take the test free of charge, and aims to reach more than 100,000 people.

As of Friday, Guatemalans may voluntarily take the AIDS/HIV test at any national health care network facility and results will remain confidential.

The program involves some public health services, continuing an effort begun in 2010 for one week of free testing annually that especially targets at-risk groups.

According to the UN, 27 years after the first HIV case was detected in Guatemala, not enough people are being tested.

Less than four percent of the population took the test in the last year, and according to the national center for epidemiology, as of December, two out of three HIV-positive persons did not know they were carriers.

An estimate 65,701 Guatemalans are living with HIV/AIDS and the country reports 7,557 new cases annually, about 21 per day.

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