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Central America

Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama

Compared to sub-Saharan Africa, Central America’s HIV epidemic is relatively localized and continues to be concentrated in high-risk groups such as men who have sex with men, sex workers, and intravenous drug users. However, a lack of knowledge about HIV, widespread stigma of the disease, limited access to health care, poverty, and migration all contribute to the region’s vulnerability to a growing HIV epidemic.

IntraHealth International has worked in Latin America since 1998, with an initial focus on improving health care for women and children. In 2006, under the global Capacity Project, IntraHealth broadened this focus to include efforts to ensure that health workers across Central America were equipped with the knowledge and skills they needed to deliver high-quality HIV treatment, care, and support for all people living with HIV.

More information is available in the country brief.

Selected Achievements

  • Reform the medical school curriculum at universities in four countries to include better information about HIV treatment and care and educate faculty about HIV
  • Collaborate with governmental and nongovernmental agencies to fill knowledge gaps
  • Better manage income-generation projects for people living with HIV.
  • Assess and improve HIV knowledge and skills of staff at 54 hospitals in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama
  • Employs IntraHealth’s innovative Learning for Performance methodology, a training approach to help hospital management staff quickly and cost-effectively teach and reinforce essential information and skills and to prepare health workers in training for the tasks they will perform on the job as well as training selected health workers to become trainers themselves.
  • Exploring innovative methods to train health workers by using eLearning and mobile devices and developing and test methods that will enable workers in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica to review information they learned in previous trainings and receive text message updates.

Current Projects (& Funders)


Key Local Partners

  • Guatemalan Technical Diploma Course Commission
  • Rafael Landívar University
  • Francisco Marroquín University
  • San Carlos University
  • local, regional, and national health facilities

Past Projects (& Funders)


Dr. Yadira Villaseñor


Dr. Yadira Villaseñor
Regional Director, Central America Capacity Project