Migrants who arrive in Panama through the Darien must take an HIV test

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Migrants who arrive in Panama through the Darien must take an HIV test
Migrants who arrive in Panama through the Darien must take an HIV test
Khushbu Kumari

America is experiencing an unprecedented migratory crisis, which is clearly shown in the situation of the Darién Gap, the border between Colombia and Panama, through which more than 180,000 irregular migrants have transited in the first five months of this year alone.

Panama will carry out HIV diagnostic tests on migrants who arrive in the country through the Darién jungle on their irregular journey to North America, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported this Tuesday.

America is experiencing an unprecedented migratory crisis, which is clearly shown in the situation of the Darien Gap, the border between Colombia and Panama, where they have transited more out of 180.

In a press release issued by the Ministry of Health, the head in charge of the STI/HIV/AIDS section of this ministry, Johny Catillo, reported that travelers will be cared for by doctors and nurses trained from both Minsa and other institutions and NGOs that are in the Darien “to be able to test them for HIV”.

“This is how we can do a diagnosis and link them to the clinics in order to offer them the treatment, in addition, those people who already come with a diagnosis but who somehow no longer have it, to also be able to offer them so that they can have their corresponding treatment”, he said the health officer.

Panama receives the thousands of irregular travelers heading to North America at migratory stations located on its southern (Colombia) and northern (Costa Rica) border ), where it offers them health care and food, in a unique operation on the continent that involves a dozen international organizations.

The dangerous and inhospitable jungle of the Darien, which is a national park in Panama, is being used by migrants from all over the world traveling to the United States, in a phenomenon linked to human trafficking.

Many stories of the experiences in the jungle include deaths , rapes, assaults, suicides; with the dangers of the wild environment of a jungle and those of criminal groups.

The United States has modified its immigration policy and promotes protocols with its allies in the region in an attempt to stop the growing flow of people seeking asylum in that country.

In early June, the Panamanian authorities launched a campaign to strengthen security in the Darien Gap to combat criminal groups that assault and rape undocumented immigrants that go through that pass on their way to the United States.

“This operation (…) is going to directly hit these transnational criminal gangs that are made up of Colombians and Panamanians who are dedicated to beating and insulting migrants who transit through Darien,” said the Minister of Security at the time Public of Panama, Juan Manuel Pino, at the Salvador Cordoba Major Base, in Meteti, in the province of Darien.

The “Operation Choco”, within the “Shield Campaign”, promoted by the portfolio of Security together with the National Migration Service and the National Border Service (Senafront – border police), deployed 1,200 units through the Darien jungle to curb the presence of international criminal groups.

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