First Faculty Advisor
Dominican Republic; global health; HIV/AIDS
CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
The island of Hispaniola, consisting of the vastly different nations of Haiti and Dominican Republic, creates an interesting dichotomy to study, especially because they rank amongst the top fifty highest seroprevalence rates for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) globally. To date, little has been done to analyze the contributing factors that lead to the observed high rates of HIV in the population because most literature has focused on Sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, the goal of this project was to review literature and global data in order to explore the unique factors contributing to the HIV epidemic in the Dominican Republic. Key communities that were identified included sex workers and their partners, men who have sex with men and small sugar cane communities called bateyes. An uneven distribution of wealth and access to health services amongst communities, stigmas against homosexual relationships and social taboos regarding sex in general are some of the driving forces behind the spread of HIV in the identified communities specifically. The purpose of this study was also to compile multiple sources of literature to prove the importance of targeted prevention programs and provide suggestions on how to alleviate local issues, eventually lessening the global impact of HIV. Suggestions for successful programs are tailored toward three stages: prevention, monitoring and maintenance, which can be universally adapted to the key communities addressed in this study. Characterizing the factors that contribute to the proliferation of HIV and proposing possible solutions to manage the spread will have an effect not only on the Dominican Republic, but on the expansion of this disease globally.