Mirlande Louis, a young sex worker in Haiti, is among the groups most vulnerable to HIV and AIDS with a prevalence rate of 8 percent as compared to 1.9 percent for the Haitian population in general.
But thanks to the training she has received at the UNDP-supported Foundation for Reproductive Health Services and Family Education (FOSREF), she is much less vulnerable in her work than before.
“At the centre, they showed me how to protect myself against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The training I’ve received here is very good and at the same time I’m making other people around me aware of the disease,” she says.
No condom, no sex,” she adds.
As part of a joint UNDP and Government of Haiti programme – and with funding from The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — nearly 40,000 people living with advanced HIV received antiretroviral therapy in 2012.
In the past two years, roughly 7,000 psychological counselling sessions were organized to help people living with HIV manage the disease, and close to 18 million condoms were distributed to the population.
More than 15,000 young people aged 10 to 24 were also educated on HIV and AIDS throughout the country, a critical part of the fight to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS in Haiti.
“My dream is to no longer work as a sex worker, but to be able to earn a living in a different way and live like everyone else,” says Louis, who also took courses in cosmetology at the FOSREF Centre as part of a jobs training programme there for people living with HIV.
In parallel, UNDP and its partners continued to work through the Global Fund on reducing the incidence, prevalence and mortality of tuberculosis in Haiti, and in improving its detection and treatment.
More than 70 percent of tuberculosis patients identified in 2011 and 2012 in Haiti were cured of the disease as a result. This represents an increase of 11 percent compared to the results achieved in 2011. Overall, nearly 230 diagnostic and treatment centres became functional in 2012.