It is in southeastern Central America and has a population of approximately 4,099,000 inhabitants, of which half are men and around 2 million are under 35, which means that half of the population is made up of young people.
The official name of the country is Republic of Panama and its capital is Panama City. The political system is governed by a constitutional democracy of centralized republic, while the official language is Spanish, although many Panamanians speak English in addition to other indigenous languages.
Regarding the economy, in recent years, progress in the fight against poverty has been highlighted, although inequality prevails.
According to World Bank data, access to basic services is not universal and depends on factors such as geographic location, educational levels, ethnicity and household income. For example, life expectancy in indigenous men and women living in their territories (67.75) is 11 years less than the rest of the population (79); and the maternal mortality rate is five times higher in indigenous women living in their territories than the national average of all women (462 vs. 80 per 100,000 deliveries).
The prevalence of existing inequality not only impacts on basic services access, it also affects the quality of life of LGBTI + communities and the full exercise of their rights.
Indeed, the actions promoted by the State to protect the gay population are void and there are no specific laws aimed at the MSM population.
Equal marriage is not allowed, however, the Supreme Court of Justice is currently expected to issue a ruling for a constitutional claim to the family code, since four couples who married outside the country wish to obtain such recognition in Panama, which could constitute a prelude for the approval of the Equal Marriage.
On the other hand, despite the three attempts made to enter the National Assembly a draft Law against Discrimination by Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, no specific legislation has yet been obtained to guarantee any protection.
Unfortunately, there are no specific statistics on hate crimes against the LGBTI + population in Panama.
Nevertheless, the movement is still standing, and every year celebrates the Gay Pride, which has positioned itself as one of the peak events of the month of June, in Panama City. Most of the actions are carried out through international assistance that arrives in the country, which is scarce in response to Panama being considered a high-income country.
According to the latest research conducted by UNAIDS in 2017, the prevalence of HIV in MSM is 21%; a high percentage that arises as a result of the limitations in the country regarding sex education.
Although people with HIV receive care and medications, since 2016 there is an intermittent shortage of therapies, putting at risk the adherence to the treatment and therefore the life of the patients.
In 2018, Law No. 40 was presented, an update of the current HIV Law 3, which finally came with potholes and gaps that caused the legislative tool to become a double-edged sword for people with HIV. Given this, Panamanian organizations are focused on addressing the situation, proposing possible solutions and carrying out the study “Stigma and Discrimination for people with HIV”, carried out together with the GNP +.