Reflecting on World AIDS Day

December 1, 2005 by PATH

A sampling of PATH's contributions to the fight against HIV

December 1 is World AIDS Day. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the seriousness of the HIV epidemic—as well as the progress and breakthroughs that the global community is achieving. PATH is part of this hopeful future, and many of our programs are contributing in important ways:

  • The development of microbicides—safe, effective gels that will protect women from HIV—is closer than ever. As secretariat for the Global Campaign for Microbicides, PATH is accelerating the efforts of 55 partners and more than 200 endorsing organizations working to make microbicides available to women. This year the Global Campaign’s efforts contributed to a tripling of the US federal support for microbicide research. PATH also completed research on women’s preferences for microbicide applicators, so we can help ensure that effective, acceptable applicators are FDA-approved when microbicides hit the market.
  • Our improved woman's condom will soon put affordable protection against HIV in women’s own hands. Our next-generation design is easy to handle and comfortable for both partners. Users in both developed and developing countries find it highly acceptable.
  • It would be tragic if the very vaccinations meant to safeguard health actually put people in jeopardy. PATH’s Uniject™ device contains a one-way valve that prevents needle reuse—and thus transmission of infections such as HIV. PATH’s other safe-injection technologies include needle-free “jet” injectors for administering vaccines and technologies and system improvements for safely managing medical waste.
  • Our pharmacist-training projects are helping youth in Cambodia, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Vietnam have ready access to the information, products, and services they need to stay healthy and protect themselves against HIV.
  • In Africa and Asia, our projects help individuals and communities consider attitudes and behaviors that may contribute to poor health. There’s a movie for migrant workers in Cambodia and Thailand and life skills training in workplaces in China. In Kenya, educational contests engage teenagers through their cell phones, and interactive street theater provides a forum for whole communities to come together and consider traditional attitudes and gender roles that may fuel the epidemic.
  • In some of the world’s most highly affected countries, PATH is participating in a large-scale effort to procure and deliver HIV medications including antiretroviral drugs and medicines for opportunistic infections.

PATH is confronting HIV at every turn—in the bedroom, on the streets, in the clinics, and at pharmacies. Our HIV prevention efforts empower individuals by putting information and tools in the hands of the people who can best use them and by laying the groundwork for social change. We are privileged to be part of the global momentum that will one day eclipse this deadly epidemic.