Microfinance Projects Help Individuals With HIV/AIDS Increase Incomes, Improve Health
Forty-seven microfinance projects last year allowed individuals with HIV/AIDS to obtain basic business training that helped them increase their incomes, improve their health and nutrition, and expand their access to antiretroviral drugs, Carole Leacock, an HIV/AIDS program specialist with World Vision Canada, said on Monday at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, the Globe and Mail reports. Leacock presented the results of a World Vision microfinance project in Mashuru, Kenya. According to the Globe and Mail, microfinance projects "can play a critical role" in areas of developing nations where HIV/AIDS "has devastated households, creating a situation that perpetuates poverty and undermines the community safety net with people unable to care for themselves." Microfinance projects also can help reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, Leacock said. Results of a two-year World Vision microfinance project in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Wednesday are scheduled to be presented at the conference. The project provided almost $50,000 to help 150 families affected by HIV, and women with no formal education received 37% of the funds. In addition, the project trained teachers and youth leaders on sexual and reproductive health issues, HIV prevention and the proper use of antiretrovirals. Dina Eguigure, a national manager of HIV/AIDS programs in Honduras, said the results of the project indicate that efforts to help HIV-positive individuals establish businesses increases "social inclusion of a group normally excluded from the formal economy" (Zehr, Globe and Mail, 8/15).
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