Venezuelan police raid HIV/AIDS organization’s offices


Venezuelan police on Feb. 15, 2019, raided the offices of Fundación Mavid, an HIV/AIDS service organization in the city of Valencia in Carabobo state. (Photo by ruurmo via Flickr)

Venezuelan police on Friday raided the offices of an HIV/AIDS service organization.

The International Council for AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) confirmed social media and press reports that said police took donated infant formula and medications for people with HIV/AIDS from the offices of Fundación Mavid in the city of Valencia in Carabobo state. ICASO in a press release said the police also arrested three human rights activists who work for the organization.

are scared for the safety of our activists and call upon the global community
to help us — not just us, but the people of Venezuela living with HIV,”
said Alberto Nieves, executive director of Acción Ciudadana Contra el SIDA, a
Venezuelan HIV/AIDS service organization, in the ICASO press release.

The Washington Blade earlier this week reported Venezuelans with HIV/AIDS are dying because of an acute lack of available antiretroviral drugs in the country, which has the world’s largest known oil reserves.

Two shipments with 300,000 bottles of the antiretroviral drug Tenofovir, Lamivudine and Dolutegravir (TLD) that the Pan-American Health Organization Strategic Fund purchased arrived in Venezuela on Dec. 23, 2018, and on Jan. 16.

Mavid is among the more than two dozen Venezuelan HIV/AIDS service and advocacy
organizations who wrote to Health Minister Carlos Alvarado on Feb. 4 to say
none of the bottles from the two shipments had been distributed from a
warehouse that is located on a military base in Miranda state. The letter also
notes “millions and millions of
pills of antiretroviral drugs are stored and withheld without justification.”
at the warehouse.

The Washington Blade on
Monday spoke with Fundación Mavid President Eduardo Franco, who is also
secretary of Red Venezolana de Gente Positiva, a nationwide HIV/AIDS advocacy
group that is based in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, about the plight of
Venezuelans with HIV/AIDS.

“We have a very serious
situation,” said Franco.

Venezuela’s worsening economic and political
crisis has exacerbated the already precarious situation of people with HIV/AIDS.

Millions of Venezuelans have migrated to neighboring Colombia and other countries in recent years.

National Assembly President Juan Guaidó
declared himself president last month, even though President Nicolás Maduro won
the country’s disputed presidential election that took place in May 2018. The
U.S. is among the countries that have officially recognized Guaidó as
Venezuela’s interim leader.

The Blade has reached out to the Venezuelan government for comment on the Fundación Mavid raid.

People wait in the waiting room at an HIV/STI clinic in Caracas, Venezuela, on Feb. 13. 2019. Venezuelan HIV/AIDS service providers tell the Washington Blade that people with HIV/AIDS are dying because of an acute shortage of available anti-retroviral drugs in the country. (Photo courtesy of Alianza Lambda de Venezuela)

Published at Sat, 16 Feb 2019 01:12:27 +0000