Hivos website


Isamar is a transgender woman who immigrated to Costa Rica over 20 years ago. She works as a health trainer for our partner Transvida, training other transgender sex workers in the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. 

Fighting HIV/AIDS

Hivos was one of the first development organizations to respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It chose an unconventional approach, arguing that AIDS is not a purely medical problem, but a development and human rights problem. Its program focused on the dignity and human rights of the groups that were most at risk of infection. As long as they were discriminated against and stigmatized, they would lack access to HIV prevention and treatment. 


Janeth dreams of being a lawyer to defend the rights of immigrant girls. She is a Nicaraguan transgender woman who performed sex work for over 20 years in Costa Rica. She is now an active member of our partner Transvida, an organization that changed her life.

A network of friends

Transvida works to improve the quality of life of transgender women and eradicate the social stigma they face. With Hivos’ support, Transvida was able to formalize its status as a civil organization and develop its lobby and advocacy skills. They also work to prevent HIV among transgender sex workers. 


Tomás is a psychologist who works for our partner Costa Rican Demographic Association. He is a transgender man who transitioned in a closed-minded society. This is his story.

Free to be me 

Project HIV-Costa Rica is a Hivos project, supported by the Global Fund to prevent HIV among transgender women and men who have sex with men (MSM). The initiative has managed to get more than 10,000 men and 400 women in the metropolitan area of Costa Rica to participate in prevention and counseling activities on sexual and reproductive health.


Pablo was fired from his previous job because he was HIV positive. For more than 12 years, he kept his diagnosis a secret. Now, he works with our partner organization Esperanza Viva and advocates for the inclusion of, and care and understanding for, people in the same situation.