Information for Providers Assisting HIV Patients Returning to Nicaragua

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What's Available in Nicaragua

HIV treatment is available in Nicaragua, but not all antiretroviral medications are available, owing to high cost, lack of coordination among regional hospitals, and bureaucratic processes required to purchase medications. There are HIV prevention services for gay men, women, youth, and immigrant populations.

HIV Treatment in Nicaragua

HIV treatment in Nicaragua is provided in 16 states and 13 municipalities at 33 public health clinics and hospitals. CD4 count and viral load test processing services have been decentralized and they are provided in Managua, Granada, and Leon.

HIV Legislation

Nicaragua has a law protecting the rights of people living with HIV (Ley 238).

HIV Diagnosis, Referral, and Follow-Up

Once a patient tests positive for HIV, he or she is referred to one of the public hospitals that offers HIV treatment. Before starting antiretroviral treatment, patients must have a CD4 count and viral load test. The national guidelines stipulate that HIV-infected patients must have a CD4 count of ˂350 cells in order to begin treatment.

Cost of Services

HIV testing and treatment services are free. People need to show a government-issued identification document in order to receive health care services.

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
  • A recent viral load test result
  • A copy of their medical chart, including complete antiretroviral treatment history

Connecting to Care in Nicaragua

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