What's Available in Honduras
HIV treatment is available, but not all antiretroviral medications are available, owing to high costs. There are HIV prevention services for gay men, men who have sex with men (MSM), women, youth, and immigrant populations. Some programs offer mental health services for people living with HIV. There are a few AIDS hospices and orphanages for children living with HIV.
HIV Treatment in Honduras
All HIV treatment is provided at the public health clinics and hospitals. The country has 37 Centers of Integral Assistance (Centros de Asistencia Integral, or CAI) that provide HIV treatment. However, doctors and nurses are not HIV specialists nor do they receive specialized training in HIV care. The CAIs in the capital, Tegucigalpa, are considered to provide the best care, but a long journey by bus may be required for people from small towns or other cities.
A law was enacted in 1999 to protect the rights of people living with HIV in Honduras.
HIV Diagnosis, Referral, and Follow-Up
Once patients are diagnosed with HIV, either by a private clinic that provides HIV testing or a public hospital, they are referred to an AIDS service organization or a public hospital that offers HIV treatment. Patients must have a CD4 cell count and viral load test performed before starting antiretroviral therapy. National guidelines stipulate that patients with HIV must have a CD4 count of ˂350 cells along with clinical indications in order to start treatment. Not all CAIs offer CD4 cell count and viral load testing, so patients may need to travel to more than one CAI in order to receive these tests.
Cost of Services
HIV testing is free. HIV treatment is also free, but patients may be asked for a small "donation" (cuota de recuperación) of $5 to $10 per visit. Patients are also expected to pay this fee for CD4 count and viral load tests. In many cases, a social worker at the CAI will conduct an interview to evaluate the patient's ability to pay. Persons seeking treatment must show a government-issued identification document to receive care.
What Patients Will Need
In order to accelerate the process and avoid out-of-pocket costs for laboratory tests, patients should be encouraged to have the following:
- A 3-month supply of their current HIV medications, if available
- A recent CD4 T-cell count (not always available)
- A recent viral load test result (not always available)
- A copy of their medical chart, including complete antiretroviral treatment history
Connecting to Care in Honduras
- Hospital del Torax (Instituto Nacional del Torax) Postal Address: Avenida los Próceres, Colonia Lara, Tegucigalpa, Honduras - (504) 236-8849; (504) 2236-5878; (504) 236-6903 (Spanish)
- Fundación Llaves (Provides treatment information and support in San Pedro Sula; can help with referrals to HIV care) http://www.fundacionllaves.org/ (Spanish)
- National Program for STIs, HIV, and AIDS (El Programa Nacional de ITS/VIH/SIDA): Avenida Jerez, Barrio el Centro, esquina opuesta a Farmacia Regis, Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., Honduras - (504) 2237-4343 (Spanish)
- The National AIDS Forum (El Foro Nacional de SIDA) Provides a list of HIV organizations in Honduras (Spanish).