HIV & AIDS: Our Impact

Erik Schouten presents data on Option B+ in Malawi. {Photo credit: Sara Holtz/MSH.}Photo credit: Sara Holtz/MSH.

A Conversation with Dr Erik SchoutenWhen considering which public health intervention is best for a country or region for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, the World Health Organization (WHO) provides a set of guidelines that provide options for various settings.

A shop owner displaying the brands of condoms she now stocks in her store, thanks to GHARP’s success in improving Guyana’s condom supply chain. {Photo credit: Ohio Thompson/MSH.}Photo credit: Ohio Thompson/MSH.

“If the shops where I live were selling condoms, I would not have gotten HIV. I went out to look for condoms but couldn’t get any to buy, so I took a chance,” said an HIV-positive beneficiary of USAID’s Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention Program, phase II (GHARP II).This man’s experience is common in Guyana, where many communities do not have pharmacies, supermarkets, or gas stations—places where condoms are traditionally sold.

Hauwa Bala, head of the rice sellers group, and other members display their produce during a group meeting. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Tunga Magajiya, Niger State, Nigeria - “Our lives have been improved with small loans,” said members of Nasara Support Group (NSG) at a meeting celebrating the group’s successes.

SDSH staff, Dr. Emmanuel Fils Salnave and Michaelle Chérisson meet with Gabriel for his first HIV counseling session. Gabriel is the first HIV-positive patient that this health center enrolled in an antiretroviral treatment program. {Photo credit: Gumy Dorvilmar/MSH.}Photo credit: Gumy Dorvilmar/MSH.

The USAID-funded project, Santé pour le Développement et la Stabilité d’Haïti (SDSH), implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), recently opened an antiretroviral (ARV) center in southern Haiti. The launch of this center took place in the presence of the local director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Jean Bernard Février, and the USAID representative, Mr. Clint Cavanaugh.The new center will increase HIV prevention services and access to counseling and antiretroviral treatment (ART) for people living with HIV.

MSH South AfricaMSH South Africa

More than ten years after gaining independence and holding its first democratic elections, South Africa has made substantial development gains and boasts a growing economy. Despite these achievements, South Africa still faces the largest HIV-positive population in the world. Apartheid is no longer law, yet the health system still retains many inequities from that era. A major challenge for the government of South Africa is improving the accessibility and quality of basic health services.

The millions of children orphaned and made vulnerable by the AIDS pandemic face particular challenges, including loss of their primary care givers, increasing poverty and a greater risk of dropping out of school. When the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was launched nearly 10 years ago, interventions were put in place to address the specific needs of orphans and vulnerable children. Over the past decade, research regarding the effectiveness of these strategies has identified successful program interventions and potentially fruitful new directions.

Commercial sex worker peer educator at one of the mining camps in Mahdia, Region 8, Guyana. {Photo credit: Sheron Fraser/GHARP II.}Photo credit: Sheron Fraser/GHARP II.

Sex workers in Guyana are a socially excluded and marginalized group. Guyana’s 2004 behavioral and biological surveillance survey (BBSS) found that HIV prevalence among female sex workers was 26.6%; only a small proportion of this group had been reached with programs aimed at making them less vulnerable to HIV, and, if HIV positive, less likely to transmit the virus to others.

Community pastor in Mvolo County. {Photo credit: E. Polich/MSH.}Photo credit: E. Polich/MSH.

In South Sudan, HIV prevalence hovers at an estimated 3%,[1] which is significantly lower than neighboring countries like Kenya (6.3%), Uganda (6.5%), and the Central African Republic (4.7%).[2, 3] Despite this lower prevalence, the world’s newest country teeters on a precipice where HIV is concerned.

Vilma (in blue shirt) sharing HIV/AIDS prevention messages with others in her community. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Although Vilma and Chaker live on two different continents, come from two different cultures, and face their own unique challenges as persons at greater risk of being infected or affected by HIV, they have more in common than they might think. Both of them have faced stigma and discrimination, and both are now finding support through local organizations providing services to vulnerable populations and people living with HIV.Vilma, 39, is a sex worker living in Honduras. At age 12, she ran away from home with the dream of making money to support the grandparents she was leaving behind.

The Oba (King) of Isanlu, Dr. A.A. Ikuborije, presents Comfort Abu with an award. {Photo credit: MSH Nigeria.}Photo credit: MSH Nigeria.

Until recently, people living with HIV & AIDS in Isanlu Community in Nigeria’s Kogi state had difficulty accessing health services to manage their illnesses. Today things are very different, and much of that is credited to the persistence and perseverance of one woman, Comfort Omadu Abu.Mrs. Abu is the program manager for the Kogi State AIDS Control Program.