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Joining partners around the globe, PATH marks World AIDS Day on December 1 to raise awareness about a disease that affects more than 34 million people. This year’s World AIDS Day theme, “Getting to Zero,” highlights the need to build on global progress in combating the epidemic, capitalizing on falling rates of HIV infections and numbers of AIDS-related deaths driven by unprecedented levels of funding for HIV programs.

PATH is contributing to these efforts with work on an array of HIV/AIDS-related projects that focus on increasing access to prevention, treatment, care, and support for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. PATH is committed to working toward the goal of a world with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.

Watch this video to learn about how PATH’s work reflects this commitment.

A summary of some of the work PATH is doing to promote the goals of World AIDS Day 2011. Video: PATH/We Are Shouting.

Zero new HIV infections

PATH works closely with communities to build sustainable solutions for HIV prevention. Through a program called Arise—Enhancing HIV Prevention for At-Risk Populations, we are collaborating with diverse partners in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India to scale up HIV prevention strategies that target most at-risk groups and rigorously evaluating their cost-effectiveness.

In Thailand, our TeenPATH project has been engaging schoolteachers and children since 2003 to integrate comprehensive HIV prevention and sexuality education programs into the school system.

This fall, PATH joined the Universal Access to Female Condoms Joint Programme paper doll campaign to mobilize awareness of and support for increased access to female condoms, including the Woman’s Condom—a female condom developed by PATH. The female condom is a woman-initiated contraceptive method designed to help protect women from both unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

We are also giving HIV-positive mothers the care and support they need to stay healthy and raise healthy babies in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and South Africa. In Nigeria, for example, the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Infant and Young Child Nutrition project, led by PATH, has helped expand healthy breastfeeding by HIV-positive mothers by supporting updated national policies and guidelines.

In South Africa, the Khusela project is bringing high-quality services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to the country’s Eastern Cape Province. Khusela works with communities to improve the availability of voluntary HIV counseling and testing during antenatal care, access to antiretrovirals, and counseling on infant feeding and family planning, as well as to increase awareness of these services. The project is also partnering with the Midwives AIDS Alliance to mobilize midwives as catalysts for HIV prevention, care, and treatment.

Zero discrimination

Discrimination, stigma, and gender inequity can result in destructive behaviors and place women and girls at increased risk of HIV and other negative health outcomes. Through our work in China, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and other countries, PATH’s interventions address women’s decision-making power in relationships and engage men in supporting positive gender norms.

In China, for example, the Breaking Gender Barriers project educated young men and boys in school and at work about the importance of adopting gender-equitable norms, attitudes, and behaviors. Through evidence-based behavior change, men became catalysts for improved reproductive health and HIV knowledge, increased condom use, greater demand for HIV testing, and overall reduced violence and HIV risk.

Zero AIDS-related deaths

In Kenya, PATH’s five-year, USAID-funded APHIAplus Zone 1 project encourages local ownership in the fight against HIV/AIDS through integrated interventions. The approach makes individuals living with and affected by HIV active participants in the battle against the disease.

PATH is also leading a separate five-year, integrated HIV/AIDS project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo called ProVIC, working with a consortium of partners to reduce the incidence and prevalence of HIV and mitigate its impact in four provinces. At the heart of ProVIC’s intervention strategy is the “champion communities” model, a participatory framework that empowers communities to define and resolve issues that make them vulnerable to HIV.

Many countries face dual epidemics of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV. TB is the leading cause of death among people infected with HIV, and HIV is one of the main reasons global TB targets are not being met. PATH is helping countries address this double burden through integrated approaches that combine the strength of the public and private sectors and help protect workers and patients from infections in health facilities and hospitals.

With funding from USAID, we address TB–HIV in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Tanzania, Ukraine and the Eastern Europe region, and Vietnam. Our work includes training health care providers in counseling, testing, treatment, and support of people with both TB and HIV. We also help strengthen health systems by providing critical supplies and technical support. Our trainings on advocacy, communication, and social mobilization help improve access and services for vulnerable communities.

As a global leader in developing technologies for improved health, PATH is investigating how to improve rapid HIV diagnostic testing in Africa and save lives through case detection. We are developing a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test for HIV that can be used in low-resource settings, as well as a method for simplifying testing procedures for infant HIV diagnosis.

More information

Posted November 30, 2011.