El Salvador's new leftist government of
President Mauricio Funes is getting tough on fighting HIV/AIDS in the
Central America country, the Spanish news agency EFE reported.
The administration said it expected
more than 60,000 Salvadorans to take advantage of free HIV testing
offered by the government on National HIV Test Day.
“I say with great satisfaction that
in El Salvador, as everywhere else in the world, we are getting ready
to conquer this epidemic,” Deputy Health Minister Violeta Menjivar
The new government took office June 1,
and Menjivar said it is committed to fighting the AIDS pandemic,
announcing that the health ministry will cover 100 percent of
medication for patients.
Officials also say they understand that
stigma against AIDS patients remains, especially among gay men.
“We have made the human and political
decision to work against stigmas,” Menjivar said.
The administration says 22,000
Salvadorans have been infected with the virus that causes AIDS since
1984,another 692 people have tested positive in 2009.
“HIV is the most democratic virus in
the world – it doesn't care if you are white, if you're rich or if
you're poor. Anyone can get it,” Guillermo Galvan, national
director of the HIV/AIDS Program, told the press.
Galvan urged Salvadorans to “overcome
fear” and take the test.