SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 30 On World AIDS Day 2007, CHF International is honoring the struggle of the 33.2 million people around the world living with HIV/AIDS, but calls for greater international support of grassroots, community-based efforts to fight the disease.
For more than two decades, international assistance has made a marked impact in helping to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS. Increased access to treatment means that more people are able to treat their infections as a chronic illness, while many national governments and their formal medical infrastructures are better prepared to respond to HIV and its socioeconomic impacts.
At the same time, there is also a growing divide between community-based and traditional health care mechanisms, with clinical health services often inaccessible to the rural poor, and under-resourced community-based providers lacking the technical and organizational capacity to provide comprehensive care and sustain their services.
Understanding this dichotomy, CHF International's programs are continuing to help communities in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond access available health services, combat stigma, and build the technical and organizational capacity of frontline providers to provide comprehensive services.
CHF's Local Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS (LPATH) program has been working in Kenya since 2004 to change that paradigm. Funded by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LPATH has been building over 30 community-based organizations' technical and organizational capacity and information sharing and referral mechanisms. Since inception, LPATH has improved service provision for nearly 300,000 Kenyans in HIV prevention, voluntary counseling and testing for over 100,000, and 20,000 for palliative care or antiretroviral treatment.
In Rwanda, CHF's four-year Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Program (CHAMP), also funded by PEPFAR through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is helping 13 large Rwandan partner organizations provide communities with equitable access to a high-quality, sustainable continuum of care through HIV and AIDS. In addition to capacity building, CHAMP focuses on increasing access to prevention and education messages, home-based palliative care, services for orphans and vulnerable children, and strengthened linkages between community-based services and health facilities. So far in 2007, over 200,000 people have been reached with prevention services, nearly 5,000 referred for voluntary counseling and testing, 20,000 provided with palliative care, and 23,000 orphans and vulnerable children have been provided with support for health care, nutrition, education, legal and psychosocial services.
Recently, CHF International was also named as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria's (Global Fund) new Principal Recipient for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in Honduras. Over the next six years, CHF will be directly responsible for managing Honduras' US$47 million in HIV-focused resources for the Global Fund, including program development, technical support, volunteer and community mobilization, pharmaceutical procurement and monitoring and evaluation. CHF will directly sub-grant the Global Fund resources to the Honduran government and civil society organizations fighting the epidemic, while building their capacity to provide sustainable, high-quality services.
In addition to these HIV-specific programs, CHF has been proactively integrating HIV services into its other programming, especially for food insecure or displaced populations who are more vulnerable to contracting the disease.
In Darfur, Sudan, CHF International has been promoting awareness about HIV and gender-based violence (GBV) among youth livi