New kaisernetwork.org Feature Examines AIDS in Haiti, Global Fund Grant
Haiti is scheduled to receive over the next five years $67 million in grant money from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, according to a new kaisernetwork.org video feature, the first in a series of spotlights on local efforts around the world to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. UNAIDS estimates that more than 5% of Haitian adults ages 15 to 49 are HIV-positive, and last year, HIV/AIDS was responsible for 30,000 deaths in the country. The Global Fund money will help provide antiretroviral drugs to some -- but not all -- HIV/AIDS patients, with most of the funds being used to open 25 new testing and counseling centers throughout the country. "I think the most important tool the Global Fund project brings is this [testing] capacity," First Lady Mildred Aristide, who heads Haiti's AIDS effort, said. Dr. Paul Farmer, head of the country's "well-known" Zanmi Lasante, or Partners In Health, center, said that with the Global Fund grants, the "great limiting factor" in treating people with HIV/AIDS in Haiti "won't be money for the first time." Farmer added, "So it's really exciting." Dr. William Jean Pape of the GHESKIO Center said, "We have all the factors that would predispose this country to have [HIV prevalence] rates as high as 40% or 50%. ... Yet this has not occurred." These high rates have not been seen in Haiti due in part to the work of Farmer's and Pape's clinics, which have developed low-cost approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Pape, who hopes to reduce by 50% the number of Haitians living with HIV/AIDS, said that it is "very important to get this disease under control" in Haiti, adding, "To us, it is a matter of national pride" (Video transcript, 4/10). Haiti is one of the Caribbean countries named to receive funding under President Bush's proposed five-year, $15 billion international AIDS initiative (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/30). The video -- prepared for kaisernetwork.org by Fred de Sam Lazaro, who is a correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer -- is available online, along with additional information and resources about Haiti.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.