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About the project. Victoria Guzman, his stand-in mother, picked him up and planted a slobbery kiss on one plump cheek. Now that funding is in jeopardy. She abandoned Rammon when he was a month old. HIV rates in this area are among the highest in the country. Payano says she finds her work in this region rewarding because she can help the people who need it the most. But that funding is expected to drop dramatically in coming years.
Ironically, the country may be too rich. Funding took another hit after The Associated Press reported in January on corruption in the administration of grants supported by the Global Fund. In three of the largest cities, including the capital of Santo Domingo, HIV rates range from 1 percent to 9. The U. Far fewer people die of AIDS than once was the case. AIDS-related deaths have dropped worldwide by 40 percent since antiretroviral drugs have become widely available, according to the United Nations.
There is no law that explicitly prohibits or legalizes prostitution in the Dominican Republic, a country that has developed lavish resorts along its beautiful beaches. But as the country's popularity as a tourist destination grows, so does its sex tourism, according to the U. Expensive antiretrovirals were largely unavailable to poor people in developing countries like the Dominican Republic until the late s and the early s when international humanitarian agencies and world leaders made it a priority.
Among the agencies that have been working on the problem are the Global Fund, former President George W. Not only do the drugs save the lives of those being treated, they save the lives of those closest to them. Patients on these medications have a decreased viral load, making it less likely for HIV to spread from mother to child or from husband to wife.
There is less maternal mortality, less infant mortality, less tuberculosis — the benefits go and on, Lynch said. His transformation is nothing short of a miracle, Dohn said. Rammon Hernandez, 5, is being treated for HIV. Photo by Lindsay Erin Lough.