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AmeriCares Honors World AIDS Day

  • December 1, 2009

The number of men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS is incomprehensible. Over 33 million people have been diagnosed worldwide – almost as many people as live in the entire state of California. Faced with the stigma and discrimination, people living with HIV struggle to get treatment and their families are often their only source of direct care.

HIV and AIDS leave people vulnerable to many other diseases and health issues. What can often be cured in a healthy person can become deadly for someone with the virus. Medicines needed to control the HIV virus reach fewer than one in three patients and other critically needed medical resources are in short supply.

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“The global recession and world food crisis have made it harder for patients and their doctors to fight HIV and AIDS. It’s difficult to provide even basic antibiotics to some of the world’s most vulnerable men, women and children,” said Dr. Frank Bia, M.D., AmeriCares Medical Director. “In addition to delivering free medicines to our health care partners worldwide, AmeriCares is delivering nutritional support which fills a critical gap for people living with HIV and AIDS.”

More than 25 years after the discovery of AIDS and the HIV virus, there is still no cure. AmeriCares helps people living with HIV and AIDS by supporting health care programs and providing critical medicines and medical supplies in sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti, Romania and many other places around the world.

Learn more about our AIDS work around the world:

  • In Cambodia, AmeriCares supports a mobile health clinic and community-based care outreach program for patients with HIV/AIDS in depressed urban areas. The traveling clinic offers primary care, recruits patients for testing and provides emergency and hospice-related care. 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.
  • In Kenya, AmeriCares delivers critically needed nutritional products for HIV and AIDS patients on the brink of starvation. A prolonged drought in Kenya destroyed crops, killed livestock and spurred a major food crisis. Patients with HIV and AIDS are particularly vulnerable during food shortages because malnutrition weakens the immune system and can cause the disease to progress faster. AmeriCares recently delivered 60,000 bottles of Ensure® – enough to give 400 patients a five month’s supply of the nutritional supplement.
  • In Malawi, AmeriCares helps support several programs at Malamulo Hospital. One program trains volunteer health care workers; equipping them with bicycles and backpacks stocked with medicines and supplies to care for nearly 390 HIV/AIDS patients in their homes. In the hospital’s mother-to-child transmission prevention program, nearly 98% of the babies born to these mothers tested negative for HIV/AIDS after 18 months.
  • In Romania, during the height of the 1980s AIDS crisis, thousands of children became infected. Many were orphans who contracted the virus from dirty needles and contaminated blood transfusions. The legacy continues today, worsened by the impact of the 2009 global recession. In response, AmeriCares delivers antiretroviral therapy for infected children through partnerships with the Baylor Black Sea Foundation and the Constanta Infectious Disease Hospital.
  • In Haiti, HIV/AIDS is the single leading cause of death. That’s why AmeriCares partners with Hopital Sacre Coeur in Milot, Haiti. Serving a community of 200,000 men, women and children, the hospital performs HIV testing & counseling, provides nutritional support and has a dedicated HIV/AIDS clinic. The hopital’s mobile clinic offers community health services, such as home visits, education, vaccinations, HIV/AIDS testing and malnutrition check-ups.

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