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World AIDS Day 2013
The Thailand ECHO clinic team represented AFRIMS Retrovirology in Pattaya's annual World AIDS Day parade, an event organized by the Pattaya city council. Pattaya is the hometown of the Thailand ECHO clinic and a Thai resort/vacation destination with a large population of MSM and transgender women working in the tourist and service industries with an ongoing high incidence of HIV in these populations.
The parade ended at one of Pattaya's inner city schools where talented students performed for an enthusiastic crowd and the city called on stage the parties contributing to the prevention and treatment of HIV in Pattaya, including representatives from the ECHO clinic.
The ECHO clinic booth was well attended and boasted a popular quiz with prizes, testing participants' knowledge of HIV transmission, prevention and treatment.
ECHO stands for Early Capture HIV Cohort which is the name of MHRP's acute HIV infection study, also called RV217, being conducted in Pattya as well as in east Africa.
To commemorate World AIDS Day in Tanzania, Vice President Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal, handed over a CD4 machine to the Mbeya region. The machine was the first of 37 to be distributed in the Southern Highlands region of Tanzania where MHRP works (known locally as the Walter Reed Program [WRP]) and where the HIV prevalence in Tanzania remains very high. The machines will be used in 21 care and treatment clinics in the Southern Highlands region. Support for the machines came from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through WRP.
In his speech, the Vice President thanked the American people and specifically called out the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research for the support. Additionaly, he introduced a new "Zonal Strategy" to respond to HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. The strategy will be carried out in eight zones around the country and the first zone will be the Southern Highlands.
Additionally, WRP-T's outreach team reached thousands of people with HIV prevention messages and HIV testing in the days leading up to World AIDS Day. Local activities included:
- A series of five debates involving nearly 200 community members. Participants engaged in in-depth discussions on issues such as the driving factors for new HIV infections, stigma and AIDS-related deaths.
- Nineteen peer educators reached more than 2,100 people with HIV and AIDS education and prevention messages. Educators traveled to multiple areas with a mobile cinema van and road show truck to deliver the messages.
- A football and netball tournament that reached large crowds of fans. A booth also was set up to conduct HIV testing on-site.
- From November 28 through December 1, WRP-T staff conducted mobile voluntary testing and counseling. More than 2,200 individuals were tested for HIV in this time period.
Walter Reed Program-Nigeria (WRPN) World AIDS Day activities took place at two sites: the 45 Nigerian Air Force Hospital, Makurdi and the 2 Division Hospital, Ibadan.
In Makurdi, WRPN, in collaboration with the Centre for Infectious Diseases Control (CIDC), 45 Nigerian Air Force, Health Initiatives for Health and Safety in Africa (HIFASS) and Benue Breweries Limited, organised a seven-day program that included medical outreach, HIV counseling and testing and and a health bazaar. Between November 25 and December 4, 2,803 people attended the various World AIDS Day activities and received information about HIV and other STIs. More than 1,000 people were also tested for HIV.
In Ibadan, celebrations commenced with a 10-vehicle motorcade, or rally, that traveled through multiple areas while team members distributed HIV information. After the rally participants could take part in health talks, condom use demonstrations and a play, as well as free medical check-ups and HIV testing and counseling.
At an event in Nairobi, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) deputy chief Lt.-Gen. Samson Mwathethe led soldiers in marking World AIDS Day. Following a speech that touched on stigma, voluntary medical male circumcision and HIV prevention, Lt.-Gen Mwathethe, as well as Gen. Arrum (Chief of Medical) tested for HIV at the event.