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Combating AIDS in El Salvador

Members of CoCoSI teach in schools, prisons and community workshops to raise awareness of and prevent the spread of HIV.

December 1, 2013

By Simon Chambers

The Committee Against AIDS (CoCoSI) began its work in the rural Cabanas district of El Salvador in 1999.  At that point, five or six new cases of HIV were being reported in the country every day.  Today, thanks to the work of CoCoSI and other agencies working to combat AIDS in El Salvador, the new infection rate has dropped over 30% to three to four new cases a day.

CoCoSI is a youth-run organization working with parents, schools, prisons, and the general public to raise awareness of AIDS, prevent the spread of the disease, address gender based violence, and support people living with AIDS in the region.

CoCoSI brings a unique voice to the AIDS community in El Salvador as the only organization based in and working in a rural area.  This uniqueness brings opportunities for CoCoSI to share the rural perspective in national campaigns and work, but also brings challenges of addressing gender issues and creating safe space for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersexual) people.

Over 8000 people benefit each year from CoCoSI’s workshops, radio programs, theatre, and other innovative programs.  53 people living with AIDS, 1 in 8 of the patients in Cabanas, are supported through accompaniment to appointments, monitoring of their condition, arrangement of transportation to doctors, and more.

PWRDF has worked with CoCoSI since 2005, accompanying the organization through its incorporation as an NGO, and joining in celebrating its recognition by the UN in 2010 with a Red Ribbon Award for its work in HIV/AIDS education, prevention and advocacy.

Today, on World AIDS Day, PWRDF holds CoCoSI and all our partners working to combat AIDS in our prayers, and we hold up before you their work.

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