Data for Decision-Making Series: Diana Frymus

Diana FrymusWe are joining the One Million Health Workers Campaign in a series of interviews, to hear from the experts why data on community health workers is so critical, and what needs to be done.

This week, we spoke with Diana Frymus, Health Systems Strengthening Advisor in the Office of HIV/AIDS at USAID in Washington, DC. She focuses on strengthening health systems to achieve HIV goals and sustain national HIV programs. Her focal areas of emphasis are on human resources for health, including CHWs, and quality improvement. She is the USAID co-chair of the PEPFAR HRH Technical Working Group and the Health Systems Global Technical Working Group on Supporting and Strengthening the Role of Community Health Workers in Health System Development. Read more »

“I’m a Health Worker”: Dr. Arturo Carrillo

Dr. Arturo Carrillo wants to end discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV in his home country of El Salvador.

“Very often people disrespect the basic human rights of this population,” he says.

He’s an HIV expert for the National STI/HIV/AIDS Program for the Ministry of Health. As part of his job, he educates people on key issues, including sexual diversity.

“Each and every one of us has to understand that while people may be different, under the law we are all equal,” Dr. Carrillo says. “And that is extremely important.”

Like other countries in Central America, El Salvador’s HIV epidemic is concentrated in specific groups—HIV prevalence among sex workers is 5.7%, among men who have sex with men it’s 10.8%, and among transgender women it’s 25.8%. But widespread unfamiliarity with HIV, stigma, limited access to health care, poverty, and migration all make the country and the region vulnerable to a growing HIV epidemic. Read more »

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 »

Security Briefs: Experts from Latin America and the Caribbean Gather to Address HIV/AIDS Commodities

Amanda PuckettHeadlines making waves across the United States recently featured the severity of this year’s flu virus. Record numbers of cases are reported for the particularly severe strain of influenza. Health experts are urging everyone to get their flu shot if they have not already. Absent are headlines suggesting a vaccine shortage.

Though we may take for granted access to vaccines protecting us from the flu and other viruses, in many parts of the world access to vaccinations, antibiotics, and HIV/AIDS and family planning commodities is limited. Restrictive financing, stockouts, untrained supply chain managers, logistics hardships, fragile infrastructure, weak health systems, and a host of other challenges threaten commodity security in many countries. Read more »

Turning Despair into Hope (and Not Just on World AIDS Day)

“Don’t write about this subject only on World AIDS Day,” said a colleague. She had just returned from the International AIDS Conference and was eager to share what she’d learned.

She makes a good point. People living with HIV do so every day, not just on December 1st.

This World AIDS Day, we celebrate the health workers who support people living with HIV every single day of the year. With every sunrise and sunset, people with HIV need support and care to live positively.  Read more »

Celebrating World AIDS Day: Getting to Zero

Amanda PuckettEvery December 1st, I pull out a small red ribbon and attach it to my sweater to commemorate World AIDS Day. To me, this is a very important day to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and reflect on both where we have made achievements in battling the epidemic and where we really need to persevere to do better. This year through 2015, World AIDS Day has a special theme: "Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths."

People with HIV are living longer

Though gains have been made in reducing the number of new HIV infections, there is still a significant portion of our global population living with AIDS. According to UNAIDS, an estimated 34 million people were living with HIV in 2010, an increase of 17% from 2001. These numbers tell several stories. Read more »

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