AIDS-free Generation

Better, Stronger, and Thankful: HIV Peer Counselor in the Dominican Republic Shares Impact of His Work

Alfredo Felix is a peer counselor with the Department of HIV at Jaime Mota Regional Hospital in Barahona, Dominican Republic. “I’ve always felt motivated to work in the community to inform people,” he says. The area shares a border with Haiti and has a large immigrant population at risk for HIV.

Peer counselors like Alfredo play an important role in countering the effects of stigma, which can make it hard for people to seek information about HIV and follow through with treatment. Alfredo tells a story about someone he helped: Read more »

Let’s Move People

I woke up on my second day at the International AIDS Conference wanting to be moved. Not that the opening plenary speeches I attended the day before were not inspiring, but I was left wanting a more personal experience or connection. I know I’m not alone.

That day I found myself in front of a piece of art outside the main session room, a see-through column lined with small dolls. I leaned in to examine the artful beadwork on the dolls, very similar but intricately different. Orphan Tower contains 634 dolls made by local bead workers in a rural village in South Africa. Each doll represents one child living in the village whose parents died from AIDS. According to the placard, there are currently over 3.7 million AIDS orphans in South Africa alone. To represent all of them, there would need to be 5,835 of these towers. I’m left wondering who will care for these children, if they will also develop AIDS, and, if so, whether will they receive treatment. I’m also aware that these dolls could represent millions of children all over Africa, and all over the world. Read more »

Global Health: A Historic and Momentous Movement

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

I just returned from listeMaurice Middlebergning to a brilliant and inspiring speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Secretary Clinton traced the history of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, from the dark days of the 1980s, when little to nothing was understood about the disease and how to fight it, to today, when, armed with the tools made possible by science, great strides are being made in bringing HIV/AIDS under control. As she correctly pointed out, United States (US) leadership and investment have been at the forefront every step of the way. Investments in science led to understanding the virus, developing treatment, and building evidence-based prevention programs. The result has been a marked decline in the incidence of the disease, millions of infections prevented, and millions under treatment. Many institutions and people have contributed to this remarkable change. That said, the contribution of the US government to the fight against HIV/AIDS has been essential to the progress achieved. The US contribution to the cause of fighting HIV/AIDS, and global health more generally, has been a pillar of US leadership in the world. Read more »

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