Being a commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico currently benefits by having a strong economy in the Caribbean region, which not only supports the healthcare services that many HIV-infected people receive but also a growing number of research communities. However, there are setbacks that come along with the seemingly promising benefits. Puerto Rico’s present per capita income is lower than any state on the mainland. Because it is a US territory, the prevalence of HIV/ADS is swelling with those in the mainland statistics, which masks the real extent of the epidemic.
Unlike the epidemics in the rest of the Caribbean regions, the island is driven mainly by injecting drug users or IDUs who are often discriminated and ignored at medical facilities and healthcare providers. Jose Vargas, the author of an outreach program called Iniciativa Comunitaria says that there are very few methadone drug treatment clinics and needle-exchange programs in the island, which obviously cannot meet the need of Puerto Rico’s predicament. Drug treatment clinics and programs like these are proven measures that lower AIDS transmission rates in other regions.
Shooting galleries in street corners are also rampant in the city streets. Outreach workers and medical doctors from Initiatva Comunitaria are resolving this problem by consistently conducting needle-exchange community programs. IDUs are often refused to be given proper medical treatment, especially for homeless IDUs and those with severe complications. In Puerto Rico, they have to go through many obstacles just to get adequate treatments. In the end, they would rather choose to discontinue treatment in these drug rehabilitation centers.
The popularity of heroin in the region is linked with its strategic location for South American drug traffickers. The Health Department says that half of the reported AIDS cases are heterosexual IDUs and 7% of the IDUs are men who have sex with men or MSMs. A UPR obstetrician/gynecologist also says two-thirds of 2000 HIV- infected women she was giving treatments were infected through their IDU partners. The Center for Drug Use and HIV Research in New York City indicates that the HIV/IDU situation in Puerto Rico is already a public health emergency.
Several drug treatment facilities located in San Juan and Bayamon include:
• Centro de Quimioterapia de Bayamon
Carretera 167 Km 24.5 Barrio Juan Sanchez, Bayamon PR 00961
Phone: (787) 786-4370
• Centro de Transformacion Social Cristiano Inc
Carretera 74 Km. 12.8 Guaragua Arriba, Bayamon PR 00956
Phone: (787) 740-4425
• Servicios Ninos Adolescentes de Salud Mental Drogas Y Alcohol Ambulatorio
Hospital Regional Ruiz Arnaull Bayamon PR 00956
Phone: (787) 786-7373
• Casa La Providencia
Calle Norzagaray 200 Esquina San Justo San Juan PR 00902
Phone: (787) 725-5358
• Centro de Rehabilitacion Dr Fumero
29 Washington Street Suite 310 San Juan PR 00907
Phone: (787) 722-5006
• Hogar Crea Ciudad Modelo Damas
Calle Hoare 716 Pda 15 San Juan PR 00915
Phone: (787) 723-5820
If you are looking for a susbtance abuse rehabilitation center in your area, you can also check TestCountry.com Drug Rehabilitation Centers section.