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May 8, 2012

Cuba Has AIDS Epidemic Under Control, Awaits 'Test and Treat'

Cuba has had great success in controlling its AIDS epidemic, but the island nation is still struggling to transition its patients into care, The New York Times reports. Though Cuba is known for sex tourism and it has one of the most genetically diverse epidemics outside Africa (with 21 different HIV strains, compared with one strain in the United States), the island has one of the world’s smallest epidemics, with an infection rate of 0.1 percent (six times less than the U.S. rate). Cuba has been able to contain the virus through free universal basic health care, a high rate of HIV testing, a rigorous free condom program and mandatory sex education. With such conditions, experts said, Cuba would be an ideal place to implement the new “test and treat” concept, which theoretically could significantly reduce HIV rates by placing HIV-positive people on meds (the meds also make people less infectious by lowering their viral loads). However, only about half the 11,000 Cubans living with HIV are on treatment, and the island is struggling to find funds for treatment.  

To read the Times article, click here.

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