El Salvador

Alliance linking organisation, Asociacion Atlacatl Vivo Positivo (Atlacatl), is a leading defender of the rights of people living with HIV in El Salvador.

Despite a low overall HIV prevalence rate of 0.6%, key populations are disproportionately affected by HIV, with prevalence rates up to 25 times higher than the general population. Amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) prevalence is 11% and rates among transgender people are even higher, 21.5% according to a 2012 study.

Atlacatl is influential in shaping HIV-related policy and is represented on key decision making forums such as the Central America Human Rights Network and the National Commission to reform the HIV law.

The Alliance began working with Atlacatl in late 2008, with a focus on building the capacity of organisations formed by and working with four key populations: men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and people living with HIV. These groups are helped to identify and respond to HIV-related stigma and discrimination in their communities.

Atlacatl's work

Vida Digna

The Vida Digna project’s aim is to build an environment favourable to the reduction of HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination towards key populations. It is a multi-party project involving Atlacatl and the Alliance’s partner networks RedTraSex and REDLACTRANS, in 5 countries.  

The project builds on previous successful work in Mexico and is funded by ViiV Positive Action. The project started in 2011 and will run until December 2013.

Read more about Vida Digna in this case study.

Atlacatl also:

  • Organises awareness-raising activities. For example, in May 2012, for the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day, they brought thousands of people together in a mass awareness raising event.  This event and others have enjoyed extensive media coverage.
  • Has a human rights department which comprises lawyers who investigate complaints they receive of human rights abuses against people living with HIV and key populations.
  • Offers dental services free from stigma and discrimination to people living with HIV.  
  • Manages a prevention project (funded by Fomilenio) to educate and raise awareness on HIV/AIDS and stigma and discrimination among construction workers building the new motorway.

Key achievements

  • In 1999, Atlacatl won a historic victory in the Inter American Court of Human Rights, which compelled the region’s governments to provide access to antiretroviral treatment. Atlacatl also led on a process to amend El Salvador’s Labour Code, which now prevents employers asking job candidates to take an HIV test.
  • A portfolio of case studies compiled by DFID in early 2011 highlighted Atlacatl's advocacy successes in El Salvador.
  • Thanks to Atlacatl’s efforts, in 2010, the government approved a national ‘HIV solidarity day’ which takes place on 7th May each year.
  • For two consecutive years, Atlacatl has succeeded in working with the national postal service to launch a commemorative postal stamp in mark of HIV solidarity day.
  • In 2011 779,722 were reached with information, education and communication materials and/or activities. Read more about our annual achievements on our interactive map.