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Author Topic: 'I came to Peru to survive': Venezuelans migrating for HIV drugs  (Read 432 times)

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Offline Jim Allen

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'I came to Peru to survive': Venezuelans migrating for HIV drugs
« on: February 21, 2019, 02:15:23 pm »
I just thought this young man's story was a good read and would share it.

Jim

The Guardian

Full story:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/feb/21/peru-survive-venezuelans-migrating-hiv-drugs

In short:
Quote
Zerpa is an HIV-positive Venezuelan who works as a counsellor with the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF). He migrated to Peru in 2017 after he was invited to take part in a conference for the UN Jovenes Positivos network, which fights against the exclusion of young HIV-positive people.

“I came to Peru because I wanted to live,” says Zerpa, who began antiretroviral treatment in his home city of Mérida in 2015 when he found out he had the virus.

But by 2017, Venezuela’s healthcare system had all but collapsed and antiretrovirals, which had been administered free of charge, could only be found on the black market costing up to $500 a pill (£380), recalls Zerpa. The price is totally out of reach for the vast majority in the country, where the minimum wage is around $30 a month.

“I spent six to seven months without taking any retrovirals,” explains Zerpa, who used to work as an HR manager for a fast-food restaurant chain.

“Due to a stomach bug, I weighed 35kg. I couldn’t even walk and I had to use a wheelchair.

“My doctor told me, ‘Darwin, you have two options: you can stay here and die or you can try to leave and find a solution to stay alive
.’”
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