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Social Panorama of Latin America 2005

image of Social Panorama of Latin America 2005

The 2005 edition of the Social Panorama of Latin America analyses recent poverty trends and the increase in migrant remittances, together with their impact on the well-being of the region's population. The analysis seeks to explore the question as to whether the demographic transition taking place in the Latin American countries over the past 15 years has helped to narrow the long-standing gaps between different socio-economic groups' and areas' mortality and birth rates. Attention is also drawn to the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Caribbean countries and to the reversal of its skewed gender distribution, which has had a devastating impact on households and the community at large. Finally, this edition looks at major changes in the health sector.

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Introduction

The gender dimensions of the HIV/AIDS1 epidemic are of increasing concern to Caribbean governments. Research has shown that risk and vulnerability to HIV are influenced by gender, and an important indicator of this is the rising infection rates among females. The disease, which in most countries started with higher proportions of men than women, is now growing at a faster rate among women. Gender inequalities render women particularly vulnerable to HIV infection, and the increasing infection rates among the female population have devastating consequences for women's morbidity and mortality, for the health and well–being of their families and the wider community, and for perinatal transmission. Women are the nurturers and caregivers within the family and, as such, bear primary responsibility for the health and well–being of future generations. An understanding of the gender issues that drive the epidemic is important for the development of policies and programmes to halt the spread of the disease.

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