Although the celebration of World AIDS Day Thursday came and went, it appears the disease is in Costa Rica to stay.
Between 2002 and 2010, the Ministerio de Salud registered 2,640 incidents of human immunodeficiency virus and 1,925 cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome). In 2010 alone, about 500 people entered hospitals and were diagnosed with one of the two, according to Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social statistics. About 400 were men and 100 were woman.
Occurrences of HIV are the highest they’ve ever been in the country. And although mortality rates have been dropping during that period for those infected, most likely due to new treatments, the disease still remains deadly. According to the ministry the highest concentration of those infected is in San José province, and within the province the highest infection rates are within the San José canton. The provinces following in prevalence are Heredia and Puntarenas.
HIV is most prevalent in the age group 25 to 34 and roughly 80 percent of both HIV and AIDS cases are among men, the statistics show. More than 3,000 patients are receiving treatment by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social as a result of the disease for a total cost of more than $3.9 million in medical care.
Regionally, Costa Rica has a below average prevalence of HIV among those 14-59 years old. It is .4 of a percent, according to the World Health Organization, lower than the rate of the United States but higher than the reported rates in Nicaragua and Mexico.