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From the poorest shanties of Cambodia and tsunami-ravaged villages of India to remote areas of Africa where volunteers ride bicycles to reach the suffering, AmeriCares delivers medicines and supplies to people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
The treatment of HIV/AIDS includes more than giving people the medicines they need to keep the disease at bay. AIDS destroys the ability to fight off other diseases. An illness a healthy person might treat with bed rest and chicken soup could kill someone with AIDS. That’s why AmeriCares fills a critical gap by providing medicines, medical supplies and health care outreach to HIV/AIDS patients throughout the world.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS day. AmeriCares honors and applauds our partners and other organizations that have worked to help people impacted by AIDS live longer, healthier lives.
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MalawiMalawi has one of the world’s highest rates of HIV-infection, with 14 out of 100 people infected – many of them women and children. The rural population has almost no access to health care and transportation to most hospitals is at least a day’s walk away.
Since access to health care can be so far away, AmeriCares supports a “house calls” training program with the local Malamulo Hospital. To reach the patients more quickly and easily, health care providers are given bicycles and backpacks stocked with needed medicines and medical supplies.
This allows them to care for people in their own homes, keep tabs on their health, and notify the medical team at Malamulo if a patient needs more critical care so they can arrange for safe transportation to the hospital.
RomaniaChildren suffer with HIV/AIDS at an alarmingly high rate in the distressed regions of Romania. In Constanta County, home of half of the country’s AIDS patients, nearly 90% of them are children.
HIV/AIDS can be successfully controlled with “antiretroviral therapy” which keeps the virus from growing and becoming deadly. The medicines for this special therapy are very expensive, but through an AmeriCares partnership with local agencies and pharmaceutical donors, young Romanian children are getting the care they need.
As children with AIDS can become seriously ill very quickly, the program also includes treatment for tuberculosis, anemia, and infections that can cause permanent health problems and even death.
CambodiaWith help from The Newman’s Own Foundation, AmeriCares supports a mobile health clinic and community-based care outreach for patients with HIV/AIDS in the most depressed urban areas of Cambodia. The traveling clinic offers primary care, recruits patients for testing, and provides emergency and hospice-related care.
During the rainy season roads in Cambodia get severely flooded and access to the coverage area can be difficult for the mobile clinic. At times the team must go by foot and carry the medicines and equipment to the community.
Some of the patients literally live in crowded shanties on the edge of a sprawling urban garbage dump. Comfort and care in their final days comes from health care providers who deliver pain medicines and personal care items to people in their homes.
More than half of all AIDS cases in Central America are in Honduras, with nearly 63,000 people in the country living with the illness. AmeriCares is working with long-time partner, the Order of Malta, to provide essential medicines to support one of the country’s major hospitals, the Hospital Torax.
Aside from routine doctor’s appointments for people living with HIV/AIDS, the hospital provides care and hospice to over 80 patients a day in a dedicated unit. A training program educates hundreds of health care providers on the special needs of treating and working with HIV patients.
AmeriCares also supports an anti-blindness program to protect particularly vulnerable patients. The antiviral drug, Foscavir, treats serious eye infections that commonly cause blindness in patients with AIDS.
IndiaThe 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami severely damaged India’s health care system and exhausted their limited resources. Hardest hit was Tamil Nadu, one of the poorest states in India which is also burdened with some of the country’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS.
People living with HIV and AIDS require more than general care; they need in-depth medical attention and in may cases, nutritional supplements. Patients also need access to—and education about—the health service referral network available to them, including support groups.
In Tamil Nadu, AmeriCares provided a grant to support general health care, prevention education and support group services to more than 200 people living with HIV/AIDS.