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The Forgotten: HIV in the Garifuna Community in Honduras (video)

Published 03/26/2013 by Global Communities

“I used to cry when people would say ‘There goes that disgusting AIDS patient. She’s good for nothing.’” Lesbia Martinez has struggled being HIV positive within her small Garifuna* community in Northern Honduras. But with support from local organizations, she has learned not only how to live with her status, but to share her story with others and advocate for an end to the stigma that HIV positive residents in her community face. 
Now she declares, “I will keep my head held high and keep moving forward.”
“I used to cry when people would say ‘There goes that disgusting AIDS patient. She’s good for nothing.'”                                      
—Lesbia Martinez

With funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Global Communities has been working to reduce the risk of HIV infection in Honduras through prevention interventions which target the general population, pregnant women, youth, men who have sex with men, prisoners, and other vulnerable populations, like the Garifuna. In the Garifuna communities, Global Communities is supporting local organizations to provide residents with a range of services including counseling, antiretroviral treatment, awareness campaigns and information using theater groups and home visits and assistance to orphans.
To hear Lesbia’s story and learn more about how the residents of the Garifuna community are dealing with an HIV prevalence rate that is five times higher than the Honduran national rate, watch short video below: The Forgotten: HIV in the Garifuna Community in Honduras by David Rochkind for TIME Magazine.

*About the Garifuna
Descendants of Carib, Arawak and West African people who live in the coastal regions of Central America, the Garifuna first came to the Americas aboard slave ships from West Africa. They were likely destined for New World mines and plantations when they wrecked off the island of St. Vincent in 1635 and found refuge with the island’s Carib Indians, immigrants from South America. After two centuries of successfully defending their freedom against colonization, they were exiled from island of St. Vincent by the British in 1797, and came to live in the coastal regions of Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize in Central America.