PrevenSida Addresses Obstacles to HIV/AIDS Care for Transgender Women in Nicaragua

Stigma and discrimination are formidable barriers to effective and equitable healthcare. Evidence shows that stigma reduction is crucial to the success of HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts. Certain groups such as transgender individuals, are socially marginalized in ways that contribute to their vulnerability to HIV infection. Stigma discourages them from getting tested for HIV, disclosing their HIV status, seeking care, and adhering to treatment.

The Association for the Rights of Nicaraguan Sexual Diversity (ADESENI) is one of 37 organizations the USAID Nicaragua PrevenSida Project, implemented by URC, works with to strengthen the civil society response to HIV/AIDS. ADESENI supports transgender women from rural Nicaragua develop organizational, training, awareness building, and political advocacy skills to advocate for themselves and educate their communities.

PrevenSida works with the organization’s leaders and promoters to develop the administrative and financial skills needed to make their institutions strong and effective. And they focus on developing the skills to promote a quality continuum of HIV care in their communities. ADESENI’S success in promoting quality standards for HIV care and reducing stigma towards people with HIV has earned them recognition as defenders of human rights not only amongst the transgender population, but amongst health care providers and others in the community.

Cristabella Berrios, leader of the organization said: "Five years ago USAID invited us to compete for a contract because our work coincided with their goals in Nicaragua. We competed and won. I felt so happy because for the first time, we had the opportunity to show that we as transgender people could implement the work as well or better than others. I am happy to have paid purposeful employment.”


Photo: ADESENI M&E Advisor Cristabella Berrios (Manuel Berrios, legal name), speaks with the media during a World AIDS Day event organized by USAID and PrevenSida
November 29, 2017
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