Chicago Tribune Profiles U.S. Physician Working With Women Infected With HIV Through Rape During 1994 Rwandan Genocide
The Chicago Tribune on Sunday profiled U.S. physician Mardge Cohen, who in July 2004 helped establish a clinic in Kigali, Rwanda, to treat women who were infected with HIV through rape during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. During a 100-day period in 1994, about 800,000 men, women and children in Rwanda were killed when the Hutu majority in the country tried to exterminate the Tutsi minority and any Hutus opposing the genocide, according to the Tribune. At least 250,000 women were raped during the genocide and many now are dying of AIDS-related causes, meaning that the "genocide continues, murder on the installment plan," according to the Tribune. Cohen and a group of U.S. and Rwandan doctors, nurses and mental health experts formed a group called WE-ACTx -- which stands for Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment for HIV -- to establish the clinic, which as of March 2005 had treated 900 HIV-positive patients, including 150 men, and has provided antiretroviral drugs for 400 patients. In addition, Cohen's group has received a $700,000 grant from NIH to track 800 patients in a project that will combine care and research in a way similar to the Women's Interagency HIV Study. Cohen, who has worked at Cook County Hospital in Chicago since 1976, said, "I care about women with HIV and violence in women with HIV," adding, "Rwanda is a kind of ultimate example of that issue" (Terry, Chicago Tribune, 5/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.