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20 years

2 out of 100 Costa Rican men between 15 and 24 are infected with HIV

July 15th, 2013 ( According to estimates by the United Nations (UN), 33 million people worldwide are living with HIV, and in Costa Rica, 2 out of every 100 men in Costa Rica between the ages of 15 and 24 are infected with the virus, according to Itzel Granados, a researcher with the Cooperative Research Project (SIDACOSTA) by the Universidad Libre de Costa Rica and the Northwestern University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland.


Granados said that young people between the ages 15 and 24 do not utilize proper methods of protection against the virus, or are unaware of the risk.  In some cases, young people believe that withdrawing the penis prior to ejaculation is sufficient protection, or simply relying on “hygiene.”


One out of one hundred young women in the same age group are also infected.


Granados said that even some university-educated citizens believed that birth control could protect them from the virus.


Estimates from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV indicate that there are 8,800 people in Costa Rica aged 15 to 45 who are infected with HIV, with young people the most affected population.


Prostitution is also legal in Costa Rica, though the studies do not mention the possible impact the practice may have on HIV rates in the country.


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  • Ken Morris

    These numbers strike me as high, since last I looked (yeah, I check this kind of thing) HIV rates were lower in CR than in the US. Probably they still are, but fairly high rates in this age bracket sound an alarm. I don’t mean to wax politically correct, but it looks like homophobia is the culprit. These guys are screwing each other in the closet, then sometimes screwing the gals, all the while denying what their doing because of the social stigma. No, it’s got zero to do with prostitution–prostitutes (both male and female) are too smart–but rather involves young gay and bisexual guys who aren’t owning up to what they’re doing. And they probably aren’t because of the stigma. I hate again to sound politically correct, but can anyone say gay rights or even gay pride? Keeping these guys in the closet is killing people.

  • Stephen Ross

    Agree with Ken on this one. The whole idea of keeping it “in the closet” stifles discussion and just leads to kids doing stupid things.

    Combine that with lack of condom use (thank you Catholic church!) and easy access to multiple sexual partners online ( | etc.) and you have HIV rates rising.

    Simple fix: hand out condoms everywhere for free and run celebrity campaign showing how cool it is to use them.

    Ooohh wait it is Costa Rica…good luck with that. Better to have our kids die of a completely preventable disease.

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