HIV and AIDS Project
September 18, 2004, —
AIDS remains "a misunderstood disease" in Haiti as well as in other countries around the world, and because of its initial negative connotation and the fact that it is a sexually transmittable disease, people in general find it difficult to publicly discuss it. In Haiti, it is still very much taboo and stigmatization is widespread throughout the society.
Catholic Relief Services' HIV and AIDS program seeks to improve the quality of life and the dignity of people living with HIV by:
- Promoting community care and support for people living with HIV and all those affected by AIDS
- Preventing the further spread of HIV
- Transforming negative attitudes and behaviors towards HIV and AIDS
How Do We Do This Project and What Are Our Accomplishments To Date?
The program aims to achieve these objectives by working almost exclusively through implementing partners at the local level. This enables CRS not only to reach those who need it the most, but also to contribute to the building of local organizations' capacity.
For example, CRS supports a local organization that provides small credit loans to families affected by AIDS. The credit program establishes community banks and teaches families affected by AIDS better financial management tools.
The program also enables the families to contribute to community savings plans, thus making them more independent. These small loans are traditionally used by families affected by AIDS to pay school fees for children, buy medicines for the sick and support small income generating activities.
CRS, with the support of USAID, also provided food aid through four partners to people living with HIV. Approximately 1,100 families who are directly affected by AIDS are supported by this food aid.
Overall, the HIV and AIDS program reached over 27,000 beneficiaries in 2002. The program will continue to pursue education and awareness activities, but the majority of the activities will focus on outreach and support to people directly affected by AIDS.
CRS will also continue to focus on integrating AIDS programming into its other work and to support its local partners as they work to increase their capacity.
Background of the Project
The HIVand AIDS program began in 1999 to bolster a local resource center for AIDS. The program's initial goals were to build relationships with local partners and to expand the resource center for AIDS.
In 2001, this work was expanded to include outreach to people living with HIV and their families; AIDS education for community, religious, youth leaders and orphans; and mobilization of communities to support people living with HIV.