HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing
Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) is an effective and affordable method for reducing the transmission of HIV in Haiti and other developing countries. Below is a figure representing the number of patients tested at GHESKIO and the number of patients testing positive for HIV. The number of people seeking HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing at GHESKIO increased from 3,450 to 24,114 between 1994 and 2005, an increase of 700%. There was also an increase in the number of patients testing positive for HIV, from 1,344 in 1994 to 3,845 in 2005.
HIV Testing and Seropositivity at GHESKIO
With support from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, GHESKIO provides three-drug antiretroviral therapy to thousands of adults, adolescents, and children who present with AIDS. Through the integration of primary care and social support programs, GHESKIO addresses challenges to providing antiretroviral therapy in developing countries, including poverty, malnutrition, and tuberculosis. As a result, treatment outcomes for GHESKIO patients on antiretroviral therapy are comparable to those of patients treated in HIV clinics in the best academic medical centers in the United States. GHESKIO’s antiretroviral therapy program is being used as a model to train health care workers throughout Haiti in the treatment of AIDS.
Treatment for Multi-drug Resistant Tuberculosis
Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a strain of TB that is resistant to the two most effective drugs, isoniazid and rifampin. It has been called a “Ticking Time Bomb” as it has been diagnosed in most countries in the world, and treatment is difficult, requiring a complex regimen of at least five toxic drugs for two years. In 2008, GHESKIO has started a program for the treatment of MDR-TB at Sigueneau Hospital, a public sanatorium in Haiti. The goals of the program are to provide highly effective therapy, with treatment outcomes rivaling those of centers of excellence in industrialized nations, and in time to expand treatment to other sites across Haiti. In the future, as MDR-TB treatment is scaled-up, clinical MDR-TB research will be conducted at GHESKIO and Sigueneau, with the intent to discover the most effective strategies for MDR-TB treatment, particularly for patients co-infected with MDR-TB and HIV/AIDS.
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GHESKIO provides nutritional and financial support to the most impoverished patients. Nutritional support includes multivitamins and monthly stocks of food. With support from the Fondation Rodolphe Mérieux and the ACME Microfinance Institution, GHESKIO provides patients with financial support through the Micro Credit program. The program targets both HIV positive women and HIV negative women who have been abused by their partners. The goals of the Micro Credit program include improving the women’s economic status and quality of life and increasing their autonomy. Participants are given grants to fund small business activities and participate in financial education programs and focus groups. Long-term participation in the program is encouraged and includes low-interest loan programs and financial mentorship.
The Haitian HIV Care and Prevention Network
Based on GHESKIO’s successful track record of providing integrated care and because the demand for HIV services is outpacing the capacities of the GHESKIO center, GHESKIO has been asked by the Haitian Government to expand its model program to 25 private and public hospitals and health clinics throughout the country as a part of the Haitian HIV Care and Prevention Network. The 25 centers in turn provide training to other local primary health care clinics. The HIV Care and Prevention Network is a central part of a national scale-up of HIV services in Haiti and is supported by the United Nations Global Fund Against AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.