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AmeriCares: Helping to Combat AIDS Around the World

  • November 25, 2008

The 20th Anniversary of World AIDS Day is Dec. 1

Stamford, CT, Nov. 25, 2008 – From the slums of Cambodia and tsunami-ravaged villages of India to remote areas of Africa where volunteers ride bicycles to reach the suffering, AmeriCares is delivering medicines and supplies for HIV and AIDS patients worldwide.

AmeriCares plays a critical role, delivering antibiotics that treat and protect people with compromised immune systems from potentially deadly infections and supporting home-based care, education and training in communities impacted by HIV and AIDS. In Cambodia, Honduras, India, Romania and Malawi, AmeriCares is helping to restore health and hope by supporting programs that enable HIV and AIDS patients to live longer, healthier lives.

“In the developing world, fighting HIV and AIDS is not simply about treating the disease itself; it’s about treating all of the opportunistic infections that pose an even greater threat,” said AmeriCares Medical Director Dr. Frank Bia, an expert in infectious and tropical diseases. “With basic antibiotics, AmeriCares keeps people alive in places where there are not enough anti-retroviral therapies to go around. It’s filling a critical gap for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

HIV and AIDS are of particular concern in many developing countries where AmeriCares works because of the way the infections interact with common tropical diseases, such as malaria, and can lead to more serious consequences.

• In Malawi, where 14 percent of the population is infected with HIV  – one of highest rates in the world – and most people live a day’s walk away from the nearest hospital, AmeriCares supports a house call program for HIV and AIDS patients in partnership with a local hospital. Health care workers carry backpacks stocked with medicines and medical supplies as they ride bicycles to patients’ homes.

• In Honduras, which has more than half of all AIDS cases in Central America, AmeriCares delivers medicines to a hospital that provides treatment and hospice care to more than 80 HIV and AIDS patients daily.

• In Cambodia, AmeriCares supports a mobile clinic that serves HIV and AIDS patients living in slums. Patients receive treatment, including pain medicines, as well as personal care items that give them comfort in their final days.

• In India, where the 2004 tsunami severely damaged the health care system in Tamil Nadu – one of the poorest states with some of the country’s highest rates of HIV and AIDS – AmeriCares has provided grants for general health care, HIV prevention and education, as well as support groups for more than 200 people living with HIV and AIDS.

About Dr. Frank Bia:
Dr. Bia is an expert in infectious diseases and international health. Prior to joining AmeriCares, he was co-director of Yale University School of Medicine’s International Health Program. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University and a medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, as well as a Master’s of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. He has traveled extensively and worked abroad in Haiti, China, Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Iran and Thailand.

About AmeriCares
AmeriCares is a nonprofit international disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization, which delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in crisis around the world.  Since it was established in 1979, AmeriCares has distributed more than $12 billion in humanitarian aid to 142 countries.  For more information, log onto