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Focus on HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention

Uganda had one of the highest incidences of HIV/AIDS in the world less than ten years ago. But thanks to an aggressive education campaign, as well as a national crusade to clean up that country's blood supply, the rate of AIDS contraction in Uganda has been cut nearly in half. Uganda is now cited as a success story and an example of how the incidence of AIDS can be reversed with through investment in HIV prevention. In this hour program, the President of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, describes in detail the strategies that Uganda employed to engage its citizens and improve public awareness to help prevent the occurrence of HIV/AIDS. Museveni's comments were recorded at ADF 2000, convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Graca Machel is considered one of Africa's most dynamic leaders. A noted social worker and psychologist, Ms. Machel has conducted research on the impact of armed conflict on children. She is currently President of the National Commission of UNESCO, having served formerly as Mozambique's Minister for Education. She is the widow of the first President of Mozambique, and is currently married to South Africa's first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela. Ms. Machel gave a moving keynote address recently at ADF 2000, an international meeting convened by the UN Economic Commission for Africa to examine the best strategies to address the spread of AIDS in Africa. She told the gathered participants that there are many things individuals, families and communities can do to address the AIDS pandemic that do not require international support. Ms. Machel also talked about her personal commitment to AIDS prevention and treatment, and the foundation she and her husband have created to address the problem.

This program provides a survey of treatment methodologies being implemented throughout Africa. The first excerpt describes ongoing research for a vaccine and the politics surrounding which AIDS patients and which countries are included in drug trials. Because of the cost of medications that extend the lives of AIDS patients, some patients in Africa are seeking alternative methodologies, such as herbal treatments and other traditional practices. Some researchers are studying and documenting the work of traditional healers applied to AIDS related diseases. The program takes listeners from Cameroon to Uganda and other parts of Africa, and ends in South Africa, where a home visitation program gets high marks for providing qualitative and personal care to AIDS patients in their homes, often at a fraction of the cost of hospital care. The program content was provided by WREN Media for the Panos Institute.

AIDS has affected countless numbers of children in Africa. The first report in this program suggests that research must be conducted to assess the dimensions of the problem. Discussants describe that often it is assumed that surviving relatives will absorb the responsibility of caring for the children who have lost their parents, siblings or other caretakers to AIDS and are left homeless. These children, especially girls, have a high risk of contracting AIDS themselves as a result of sexual and/or physical exploitation. Zimbabwe has instituted a controversial curriculum to teach children about AIDS. And children from around the world talk candidly about AIDS. The program includes additional reports on a countrywide program of AIDS education and HIV testing instituted in Uganda, and medical research focused on people who seem to have a natural resistance to the disease. The program content was provided by WREN Media for the Panos Institute.

AIDS education and prevention are critical to stemming the pandemic growth of the disease in Africa. In this program we hear about effective prevention initiatives being implemented in Tanzania and Uganda. Tanzania has invested in education and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases or STDs, based on scientific data that shows STDs increase the probability of contracting HIV and AIDS by up to 300%. Medical staff in Tanzania indicates the biggest impediment to their campaign against STDs is silence, or difficulty in having frank and open dialogue about sex. Uganda has inverted previous trends of accelerated growth of the incidence of AIDS in that country, by cleaning up its blood supply and outlawing blood brokering or the selling of blood, and also through education. One of the most popular and informative radio programs in Uganda is "Capitol Doctor," an interactive call-in show that answers listener questions about AIDS and HIV. The last report examines the human rights and discrimination issues associated with AIDS. The program content was provided by WREN Media for the Panos Institute.


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