Fighting Common Diseases in GuatemalaCommon diseases in Guatemala include malaria, bacterial diarrhea, and HIV/AIDS. These diseases are common throughout this area of the world. Malaria spreads through mosquitoes, which are common in Central American countries, putting inhabitants at a greater risk for the disease. People in these countries may live in areas without proper sanitation, consequently causing a high prevalence of bacterial diarrhea. HIV/AIDS is common in Guatemala partially due to a lack in sexual education programs.

In certain areas of Guatemala, malaria rates are higher than in other countries. In 2015, there were 6,834 cases of the disease. Since 2005, the government has been fighting the disease with additional funding from the Global Fund. The goal is to nationally eliminate malaria by 2020. In order to avoid bacterial diarrhea, doctors advise individuals to practice good hygiene when using the restroom, maintain clean water, and properly clean food.

Lastly, Guatemala created a comprehensive sexual education plan to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, a survey in 2015 showed that only 7 percent of students learned all of the intended points in the program. Another issue with this program is that out of classrooms that taught students about condom usage, 43 percent did so incorrectly. Since STDs and STIs are a common problem in Guatemala, people are pushing for improvement of the sexual education program through better instructor training or a complete reconstruction.

These are a few of the most common diseases in Guatemala. Travelers are warned against malaria and bacterial diarrhea. Additionally, HIV ranks number nine in the top 10 causes of death in Guatemala. Through better education and prevention, the prevalence of these common diseases in Guatemala can significantly drop and the well-being of the people will improve.

Helen Barker

Photo: Flickr