February 21, 2002 – Reuters
Panama’s gays fight homophobia for real acceptance
by Robin Emmott
Panama City – She was beautiful. She was sassy. She was adored. As Ana Carolina passed through the crowds, high on her carriage of feathers, she waved and danced–Panama City’s Carnival queen. But Ana Carolina was Jorge, and Jorge is gay. In Panama you can lose your job for being gay. There are no gay lobbyists, no openly gay politicians and no local gay magazines. In this unashamedly macho society, homophobic music is not uncommon on the radio. Even the gay community has no universally recognized leaders. Gay pride? Out of the question.
Still, as in other years, for a few days this year during Panama’s pre-Lenten Carnival, the country’s gay men were granted permission to run their own floats and have their own gay Carnival queen. "Perhaps it’s because the straight Carnival queens are so outrageously dressed that we can also take part – dressed in drag," says Jorge, a 23-year-old marketing student.
"Whatever the reason, Carnival is the only time that we as Panama’s gays can be open about our sexuality." Following Carnival earlier this month, Panama’s gays are able to look back at the festivities as the closest they have come to full acceptance in the celebrations. "Young people cheered us on the gay parades with a real friendless," says Jorge. The gay community gained government permission for two other queens in the provinces, aside from Jorge’s appearance as Panama City’s gay queen. Roberto, a 28-year-old hairdresser, appeared as the gay queen in the central town of Anton. "We went to Anton this year because the people there are not anti-gay as in other towns. We were surprisingly well received," says Roberto.
No Fun When The Party’s Over
But away from the exuberance of Carnival, being gay in Panama isn’t easy. "I’ve been beaten up for being gay," says Ruben, a smartly dressed 26-year-old business student. "People insult me when I walk down the street and I’ve had problems getting part time jobs. Groups such as the Catholic Church think we are immoral and vulgar." Gay tourists are told to steer clear of Panama. "If you are a gay traveler looking to spend time in a country that embraces people regardless of their sexual preference, Panama is not the country for you," advises the U.S-based Lonely Planet guide book.
And besides the fun of dressing up as a woman at Carnival, genuine transvestites in Panama face discrimination, pushed to the edges of society. "Transvestites know nothing of safe sex because no one wants to talk about it," says Morgan, a 50-year-old heterosexual who saw his transvestite friend Alegria die from AIDS last year. Some 4,000 people currently suffer from the disease in this country of just under 3 million inhabitants. Roxany, a 22-year-old transvestite who began living as a woman at 15, lives from the $100 a month her boyfriend gives her and the occasional show she does in a nightclub. "My father nearly beat me to death when I first told him I was a transvestite," she says, wearing a long green summer dress. "But I was lucky. I have friends who were kicked out of home when their parents found out. And they had nowhere to go. There are no gay support groups in Panama."
Although consensual homosexual relationships between adults are legal, attempts to form legitimate gay organizations in Panama have so far been blocked. Panama’s first lesbian and gay organization, Asociacion Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panama, was denied legal registration in January 2000. An effort to launch a gay political party has also foundered. From her small, dank room in the suffocating heat of a Panama City shantytown, Roxany dreams of leaving Panama for Amsterdam. "There I could be a lady. I wouldn’t be constantly humiliated in public like in Panama," she says, staring at the television that is showing a local soap opera.
Homophobia On The Wane
In the face of discrimination against Panama’s gay men, there are some signs that society is beginning to open up. Last year a number of popular television soap operas introduced gay characters–something that would have been unthinkable five years ago, gays say. An openly gay television presenter has also emerged, broadcasting his weekly current affairs and celebrity gossip show. Harold, as he is known, has done a lot to help conservative Panamanians accept gays, says Marco, a gay 25-year-old part-time design student. "Harold is outwardly gay and effeminate, but he is humorous and intelligent too. He shows people that being gay does not mean you dress like a woman," Marco says.
More gay bars and nightclubs are also opening in Panama City. For years, fearing vandalism and homophobic attacks, gay clubs remained well-kept secrets. The biggest barrier to greater acceptance for Panama’s gays is the public’s reluctance to accept that high profile politicians and businessmen may be homosexual, the gay community says. While there are public figures widely rumored to be gay or bisexuals, none have stepped out of the closet. "Panama is not ready for a gay politician," says one gay man who requested anonymity. "It could be 10 years before that time comes."
Panama’s First Gay-Pride Parade
Panama saw its first gay-pride parade June 25. About 70 people marched, with at least an equal number walking along on the sidewalks, out of view of media cameras. Six newspapers, five radio stations, two TV stations and numerous Web sites covered the parade. “ For being our first-ever march, that was quite a turnout—definitely beyond what we were expecting,” said Javier Rodríguez of the New Men and Women Association of Panama, which organized the parade.
“ This, for me, is the first time that I’ve been able to gauge an actual ‘gay community’ in Panama,” Rodríguez said. “All these years, everyone’s been talking about such a community. To me, it had never existed until now. … This is the first time that the different actors—from the clubs to the boutique to the bathhouse to the bars to the Web sites—have responded to the call of one actor, our group, and joined efforts to make something, anything, happen!” At the end of the parade, 600 balloons were released—100 for each color of the rainbow flag.
Declaration to Secretary General, Ministers, Members of the Official Delegations, Civil Society Representatives,
Panama – We, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite, Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex (hereinafter LGBTTTI) organizations, convened in Panama on May 31 and June 1, in accordance with directives established by the OAS General Assembly in resolutions AG/RES.2092(XXXV O/05),CP/RES.759(1217/99),840(1361/03), AG/RES.1707(XXX-O/00) and AG/RES.1915(XXXIII-O/03), which jointly set a regulatory framework to enhance and strengthen civil society participation in OAS activities and in the Americas Summit process. Taking into account our concerns to guarantee that full and sustainable development for all people should be a reality.
Hereby assert that:
The universal character of human rights stems from the recognition that all persons must be fully endowed of their rights. However, today, in the XXI century, some of us are still not considered fully human. Being black lesbian women, transgender native people, intersex children, disabled bisexuals, elderly gays, young transsexuals, we share a common struggle with multiple movements. Our diversity contributes to the wealth of humankind, but instead of being celebrated, it is punished through multiple forms of discrimination and violence that restrict the full enjoyment of our rights.
In every country of the hemisphere, the police is judge, jury and executioner over our lives. Instead of being legally recognized as transsexual men and women, we are physically violated through intrusive medical examinations and sterilized respectively. When, as women, we show sexual desire toward other women, we are subjected to psychiatric treatments. When, as men, we love other men, we are murdered. When we are born intersex, we are mutilated. Often, these violent situations are sanctioned by a legal system which reinforces cruelty, repression, violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
In the non-theocratic states of the American hemisphere, laws should not be based on religious principles, but instead they must grant equality and respect for all people, regardless of their religious creeds. Whereas the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declare all persons to be equal before the Law, we recommend:
·That States investigate thoroughly all reports of human rights violations against LGBTTTI persons, with especial regard to those imperiling life, dignity and psychological, physical and sexual integrity;
·That States bring to justice perpetrators, make effective reparations available to the victims, train police personnel, and take preventive action to ensure that such violations do not recur.
·That States repeal laws penalizing sexual conducts between consenting adults and draft, implement and enforce anti-discrimination statutes, and revise their bodies of legislation to purge them of any norm penalizing or discriminating persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or sexual identity and expression.
·That States implement inclusive policies aiming to overcome the state of social exclusion of LGBTTTI communities; that develop campaigns against homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, biphobia and interphobia, that include training for public servants and for the general public; that institutionally recognize May 17 as the International Day Against Homophobia.
·That the General Assembly adopt draft resolution CP/CAJP-2513/07 “Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and All forms of Discrimination and Intolerance”, and States commit themselves to speeding up the negotiations so as to approve in a reasonable time frame the Draft Convention covering and naming all forms of discrimination and intolerance, including those related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
·That States commit themselves to implementing the recommendations originating from reports submitted by LGBTTTI organizations to the international and regional human rights systems.
·That States make a commitment to remove the obstacles limiting freedom of association and preventing effective participation of LGBTTTI organizations in the OAS system.
·That States commit themselves to guarantee that the composition of the Inter.-American Commission on Human Rights reflects the diversity of the community of the Americas , including gender balance.
·That all official documents making reference to discrimination include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as protected categories.
The implementation of these recommendations will guarantee that in XXI century we, as human beings, are all treated equally.
More Information from Stefano Fabeni
3ra Marcha por la Diversidad Sexual en Panamá
Panama City – La tarde del sábado 30 de Junio como parte de las festividades de Orgullo Gay a escala mundial se realizó en Panamá la 3ra Marcha por la Diversidad Sexual, organizada como en años anteriores por el conglomerado de gays y lesbianas: Asociación Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panamá (AHMNP).
El recorrido dio inicio en la esquina de la Vía España con la Vía Argentina en ruta hacia el parque Andrés Bello (en la Vía Argentina). Los asistentes mostraban pancartas de protesta por la igualdad de derechos para gays y lesbianas además de promover el sexo seguro y la tolerancia hacia aquellos de orientación sexual diferente.
Como parte del protocolo de clausura se realizó por 1ra vez la entrega de premios -El Huevo Rosa- a las personalidades que, de acuerdo a un sondeo realizado en el sitio web ahmnpanama.org, realizaron la mayor cantidad de actos de discriminación en los últimos 5 años. Entre los nominados estuvo el arzobispo José Dimas Cedeño, la psicóloga Geraldine Emiliani, el magistrado de la corte suprema Winston Espadafora y el relacionista público Honorio Vega.
" Quedó mejor que el año anterior" fueron las palabras de Ricardo Beteta, presidente de la AHMNP cuando lo abordamos sobre el resultado de la marcha.Puedes ver más fotos en: http://www.farraurbana.com/home/Otros/p2_articleid/57
Three languages, small crowd at local Gay Pride march
by Eric Jackson
Panama’s 2007 Gay Pride march didn’t set out until a little after 5 p.m. on June 30. For a couple of hours before, however, activists from the Association of New Men and Women of Panama (AHMNP, by its Spanish initials) gathered on Via España at Via Argentina to pass out "Myths about homosexuality" leaflets and condoms. There were the drag queens and studs to be sure, and also folks that fit none of the stereotypes. Beauticians? Yes, those, and canal workers, taxi drivers, teachers, musicians, retirees and folks from many other walks of life.
Most of the cars that passed by had their windows rolled up. Some lowered them to take the materials that were being handed out. Through the windshields of many fewer cars, one could see expressions of fear or loathing, but in two hours of watching this reporter only noticed two hostile gestures. A politician who ended up unable to produce any proof had accused the AHMNP of distributing condoms to children and, maybe or maybe not as a setup, two boys aged about 10 or 12 came up and asked one of the women passing out condoms and leaflets about the purple packages they were giving to passersby. "Chewing gum," she said. The boys wanted some. "This chewing gum’s only for grown-ups," she replied.
As the crowd began to gather for the march, Spanish was not the only language heard. Some of the people were speaking English — Queer Expats in Panama, an online gay and lesbian chat group that meets for regular dinners and is affiliated with the Panamerican Rainbow Alliance Together United (Para Tu) — was there. A relative newcomer from Florida observed that "the gay scene down here is pretty closeted." (But then, nobody has been winning any elections down here by gay-bashing.)
Panama, you see, has a culture that embraces privacy in ways that seem odd to many gringos. It’s considered way beyond the pale to intrude into the private sexual affairs of public figures, or anyone else. We have plenty of male politicians simultaneously maintaining multiple families, by their legal wives and by their mistresses. We have plenty of gay elected officials and lots of gay high-ranking government functionaries. Although one of the sub-texts of the emerging 2009 presidential race is a whispering campaign from a sure also-ran about a stronger rival being queer, the response of most Panamanians who hear this is "So what?" The flip side of the value placed on privacy is that most of Panama’s gays and lesbians maintain their anonymity to the straight community, and a number of the participants in this year’s Gay Pride festivities were masked.
Tolerance may be the cultural norm, but it’s by no means the universal rule. There is still a lot of bias against homosexuals throughout Panamanian society. Lots of disparagement comes from the churches and a fair amount in the mass media. There are no laws preventing people from being fired from their jobs if their bosses find out their sexual preferences are for their own gender. When the government-funded "yes" campaign for the Torrijos – Alemán Zubieta canal expansion plan felt the need to annoy this reporter last year for not swallowing their propaganda unexamined, their supporters came by at four in the morning in an expensive SUV boom car blasting gangsta rap expressing hatred for "cuecos."
One segment of Panamanian society that has traditionally been explicit in its tolerance of homosexuals is the indigenous nations. The biases that got homosexuals burned at the stake came with the Spanish conquerors, but the societies they encountered tended to reserve honorable places in society for lesbians, gay men and others who cross cultural gender lines. Christian missionaries may have won some converts to their attitudes, but Kuna Yala remains a popular stop for gay and lesbian cruises because of its more tolerant culture.
Thus it should have been no surprise that a Kuna contingent from Veracruz was in the march. Nandín, a Kuna man with long, henna-tinted hair, explained that "we are a community of muscles, and we are also a community with long traditions." The march made its way a few blocks up Via Argentina, looped around to Parque Andres Bello, and gathered for a few short speeches and ceremonies. Lupe, the Colon transvestite who bore the rainbow flag at the head of the march, called for unity among gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered. "We have been taking to the streets for so long," he observed, adding that now isn’t the time to quit.
The AHMNP honored Manuel Burgos for his help in the group’s long struggle to get its status as a legal entity. "We live in a very exclusionary society, with lots of double standards," Burgos said.
The Pink Egg awards were announced for the most prominent foes of the gay community. First place went to psychologist and columnist Geraldine Emiliani, followed by radio and TV show host Lucy Molinar and the Roman Catholic archbishop of Panama, José Dimas Cedeño. It happened that La Cascara News, Ubaldino Davis’s TVN comedy show, was at the event shooting video and telling jokes, and as Molinar’s television show is also on TVN they accepted the pink egg for her. There was nobody on hand to represent the psychologist or the archbishop. The day’s festivities ended with a music and dance presentation by the Ukupnega Kuna dance troupe.
August 22, 2008 – Kaiser Network
Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report
Global Challenges | Researchers Examine How Perceptions of Masculinity Influence HIV Prevention in Central America
A team of researchers is examining how different perceptions of masculinity can influence HIV prevention messages in Central America, the Columbia State reports. The team, which is supported by USAID and Population Services International, has held focus groups with 1,200 men from El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama to learn about different perceptions of masculinity and how the men see themselves. The men completed 11-point surveys on issues such as what motivates them, what is important in life and what word best describes them. Using the surveys, the researchers developed six primary categories to which HIV/AIDS prevention messages can be customized, according to the State. "It’s another approach for behavioral change messages," Susana Lungo, program director for the initiative, said.
The six primary categories are powerful, men to whom researchers should stress that they have the power to choose condom use; energetic, who can be reached by emphasizing that they can make a contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS; protector, who should be given messages about fidelity and condom use for the sake of protecting their families; relaxed, who tend to be receptive to condom use because of generally open attitudes; searchers, to whom condom use has to be presented in interesting and engaging ways; and passionate, men who are receptive to fidelity and condom use messages out of respect for their partners.
According to the researchers, although the categories were developed to promote HIV prevention, they also can be used for teenage pregnancy prevention and other health issues (Reid, Columbia State, 8/21).
December 22, 2008 – blabbeando.blogspot.com
Panama: Gays blamed for collapse of emergency phone line
by Andrés Duque
According to a brief note that appears today in the Panamanian newspaper Critica, an anonymous "police source" has said that vacationing high school students and the gays are to blame for the collapse of Linea 104 – Panama’s emergency phone system ("Minors and gays shut down Police calls"). From the article: According to a police source, now that the school year has ended many youths make pranks on the dispatchers, during most of the day, while at night, alleged homosexuals call to harass police units, without thinking that this call might save the life of a person when it is really needed.
I tried to look for corroborating information elsewhere but could only find a Sept. 10, 2006 article in La Prensa that might provide another explanation as to why Linea 104 is experiencing problems: At that time there were only ten officers devoted to answering emergency lines and an estimated 400,000 calls per month coming in ("10 policemen respond to 400 thousand calls a month"). By the way, the Panamanian Police Department that seems to be blaming the gays for shutting down the phone lines is the same Department that was calling for gays to be allowed to serve as police officers back in April (see "National police chief says gays can serve as law enforcement officers" and "Negative to lukewarm reactions to letting gays serve as police officers"). What gives?
Well, back then the Director of the Police Department was Rolando Mirones, a civilian selected to lead the Department under a policy that sought to combat past corruption by making it possible for non-police officers to run the Department. At the time, rising crime numbers and controversial stands such as backing those gay police officers who were already in service added to pressure by military leaders and some within the police department for him to step down.
Indeed, Mirones submitted a letter of resignation on May 13, 2008, a month after pushing for the Police Department to accept the enrollment of gay officers. With his departure, the government also reinstated rules that require that those who lead the Police Department must be police or military officers – and does not allow for civilians to take the top post ("Arcia justifies militarization"). The current Director, Francisco Troya, has been a career police officer.
July 10, 2009 – Pan American Health Organization
Experts to propose plan to improve the health of homosexual men in Latin America
Panama City – Health experts of several countries will meet from July 14 to 16 to propose programs to improve the health of men who have sex with men in Latin America.
Doctor examines patient in MexicoThe "Regional Consultation on Health Promotion and Provision of Care to Men who have Sex with Men in Latin America" is organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC).
Approximately 40 participants are expected to attend the meeting, including government officials, civil society representatives, advisors of the United Nations system, and experts in various technical fields including HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sexual health, mental health, health services and human rights.
The consultation is expected to produce a plan of action to scale up health promotion and prevention programs for homosexual men, with a focus on their most urgent health needs. In part because of ignorance, stigma, and discrimination, health services have not always been widely available to men who have sex with men in Latin America. In addition, according to the meeting organizers, the health services often lack personnel with expertise in the unique health needs of this population.
Available data show that men who have sex with men are disproportionally affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Other frequent health concerns are mental health issues, drug and alcohol use, in addition to chronic stress, anxiety and depression as a result of hostility, stigma and discrimination.
According to United Nations agencies, the ability of health systems to meet these needs was greatly improved with the approval of new legislation in the last 20 years decriminalizing sex between men. In 2008, Nicaragua and Panama, the last two countries in Latin America where sex between men was criminalized, revoked such legislation. The Consultation is part of a series of regional meetings, the first of which took place in Europe (Slovenia, May 2008) and Asia (Hong Kong, February 2009).
October 18, 2009 – Passport Magazine
Gay Panama Update
Like most large cities, gay nightlife in Panama City is constantly evolving (Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush go to a now-defunct gay disco in the movie The Tailor of Panama). Today, the most attractive gay nightclub in Panama City is BLG (often confusingly pronounced “Balagans” by locals). Recently relocated to a handsome new venue, BLG has a high-tech light show and modern décor, plus a good-looking crowd. In spite of its nice décor, BLG is not as popular as Oxen, where plain black walls surround a large dance floor that packs in revelers of all ages—and drag shows or go-go boys take to the stage most nights. Lips, which features enthusiastic hose-wielding employees on foam party nights, is smaller and attracts a younger crowd, thanks in part to its cheaper prices.
While it’s never hard to find a packed gay disco in Panama City, it is still hard to find people to fill a public gay pride event, according to Ricardo Eloy Beteta, president and founder of the Asociación Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panamá (Association of New Men & Women of Panamá), a national LGBT organization. The AHMNP has organized Panama City’s gay pride parade since its inception in 2005, but Beteta says that turnout is still low. “There were almost 500 participants [the first year], mostly women,” he says, but “because of the lack of support and social fear, the parades since then have attracted even fewer people.”
Still, the organization, which was founded in 1996 and has 250 members, has celebrated some successes. “We’ve had major progress, especially in a legal battle that we had with the government when we wanted to legally establish ourselves as an organization by homosexuals for homosexuals,” he says. “It took three years and two rejections before the Organization of American States got involved in the case and got us recognized legally, making it the first gay organization to be recognized in Central America. This legal recognition has allowed us to do the first studies of our community, something the Panamanian government had always refused to do.”
That’s not all. “In addition, the AHMNP has succeeded with the repeal of decree 149 from 1949, making Panama the latest Spanish-speaking country to denounce homophobic laws, which punished the practice of sodomy with three months to a year in jail,” Beteta says.
Still, there are challenges ahead. “The [anti-gay] internal regulations of the national police still remain,” he notes, “which allow the state to deny Panamanians the right to work, just because of their sexual orientation.”
One of the difficulties is funding, according to Beteta. “Panama is a rather expensive country, so getting financing for our projects has been difficult,” he explains. “Thanks to the Fundación Triángulo [Triangle Foundation] in Spain and UNAIDS [the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS], we have been able to work modestly to support our human and health-related rights. Other Central American countries have made major advances thanks to the levels of financial support they receive, and that is a dream for Panama. We have a somewhat weak movement, but the AHMNP is recognized as a militant and anti-establishment organization, which makes me very proud.”
It may be a while before most gay people in Panama City feel comfortable enough to attend a gay pride parade, but with ever-greater numbers of revelers at the city’s gay nightclubs (not to mention some open-minded straight people), it’s just a matter of time before the enthusiasm and openness of the clubs spills out onto the streets.
Read the full story: Passport Magazine
02 May, 2011 – Sentidog
(Translated from Spanish)
Homosexuality Among Indigenous People–the Kuna of Panama
Nandina Solis, transgender activist Kuna community, talks about homosexuality and HIV / AIDS in this group and defends indigenous initiatives to ensure the rights of LGBTI people in Panama. Besides being a focal point in Panama at the International Secretariat of Indigenous and African descent against HIV, Sexuality and Human Rights, Nandin Solis has six years working with the lesbian movement, gay, bisexual, transvestite, transgender, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI .) Is guidance on issues related to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV / AIDS, human rights and sexual diversity, focusing on native peoples, and currently works as a facilitator in the Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health at the Kuna General Congress, maximum authority of the Kuna culture.
One of his ‘great goals’ is to form an indigenous organization working around sexual diversity, sex education and prevention of STIs and HIV / AIDS, not only with the LGBTI and the population of men who have sex with men (MSM), but also to the heterosexual population.
– How is conceived sexual diversity in the Kuna community? What status is homosexuality?
Homosexuality is tolerated by the authorities kuna, while this issue is handled with discretion to avoid clashes with the traditional teachings kuna. In our community there is the word Omeguit – ‘as mujer’-, used as a derogatory term to refer to gay men. We are educated by our mothers at an early age in the household work and work away from the socially assigned to heterosexual men. Through this process, homosexual men acquired a female sexual and social identity, which in our Western culture is equivalent to a transgender person. Unlike the above, female homosexuality is not visible, perhaps because the presence of women in our culture is seen as sacred. Female homosexuality is against Kuna beliefs about femininity and disagree with the role of women in our own worldview.
– For you it means to be indigenous and not heterosexual?
As transgender Kuna, being educated in our houses for domestic activities such as sewing molas, ornaments and clothing made by Kuna women traditionally can have an economic in and contribute to the maintenance of the family, what makes us useful members community. To be educated to be socially women, also indirectly teaches us that in our sex receptive played the role so many young people start their sexual life with us. The correct term to refer to us in Kuna is Wigunduguid, is the name of a God Kuna, whose central feature was to have two souls. Thus, in the Kuna culture explains the attraction of a male to another male. The perception that we are accepted by most members of the family and the Kuna community relies more than anything in that, as the Kuna, an ethnic minority group, all members should be useful to the community and contribute to their subsistence . Stigma and discrimination are more common for people living with HIV and AIDS, since the community still does not understand the complex situation of these people or their problems.
– What are the implications of the HIV / AIDS in your country? What are the major obstacles to the fight?
Panama saw its first cases of AIDS in 1984. The epidemic has grown focused on groups considered to be ‘highly vulnerable’ or ‘vulnerable’: workers and commercial sex workers (CSW), MSM, persons deprived of freedom, youth and indigenous people, mainly kuna (approximately 10% of the Panama’s indigenous population). One factor that has contributed to the spread of HIV / AIDS in the country is its geographical location as a bridge between Central America to South America. This condition makes Panama in the transit point for migrant populations, which are difficult to grasp, either to provide information on HIV / AIDS, or to provide them with condoms.
HIV prevalence has increased in both sexes, but the gender gap has decreased, although dominated by men infected cases (75% of reported cases in 2005). In the case of young people, has reported the prevalence of viruses with equal frequency in both sexes.