Government police have stormed the offices of Foundation Mavid, an HIV service organization in Venezuela, and confiscated donated HIV treatment, infant formula for HIV positive babies, and other essential medicines destined for people living with HIV, a confidential source told Towleroad.
They have also detained three staff including the human rights activist Jhonatan Mendoza. No charges have been made.
“We are scared for the safety of our staff in our offices and call upon the global community to help us – not just us, but the people of Venezuela living with HIV,” Alberto Nieves, Executive Director of Acción Ciudadana Contra el SIDA (ACCSI).
Mavid’s president, Eduardo Franco (also the secretary for the network of people living with HIV in Venezuela) and Nieves have publicly denounced the stock outs of HIV treatments in the country and the barriers erected by the Maduro regime to distribute what little treatment exists in Venezuela.
“We need the UN, NGOs around the world and all people living with and affected by HIV wherever you live to publicly condemn the human rights violations in Venezuela and stand with us in solidarity with the thousands of people living with HIV that continue to wait for their treatments and advocate for their right to live,” said Mary Ann Torres, executive Director at ICASO.
“We stand in in solidarity with the thousands of people living with HIV that continue to wait for their treatments and advocate for their right to live” expressed Carlos García de León, member of ICASO and Gay Latino.
Lack of meds have been a problem since at least last August when NBC News reported that the country was on the brink of a catastrophe: “Since 2015, there have been sporadic shortages of these vital medicines all over Venezuela. But deliveries that were slow to arrive two years ago have now ground to a halt. Public hospitals have given up testing for HIV, and condom supplies have run out. Venezuela’s health system appears to be on the brink of collapse.”
“Over the past week in Carabobo there’s no medicines arriving at all. If you have cancer or are recovering from an operation or have an infection you can’t get any antibiotics. There’s empty shelves in every clinic and pharmacy,” Franco explained.
Ironically Venezuela’s government funded HIV care was once among the best in the world.
Photos Credit: @ONUSIDA Venezuela