Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On World AIDS Day, ADRA Works to Curb Pandemic

Global ADRA Network press release on World AIDS day, highlights interventions in Malawi, read bellow for full article or access it on www.adra.org.

SILVER SPRING, Md. —The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is working to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS globally through targeted projects that promote behavior change, increase education, and improve the quality of life of those living with the virus, the agency reports.

“Around the world, ADRA offers HIV preventative education programs, HIV/AIDS testing, and counseling services to reduce the impact of AIDS on individuals and families,” said Charles Sandefur, president of ADRA International. “Through these efforts, ADRA expresses its call to biblical social responsibility and considers it a vital task to help eradicate this terrible disease.”

In Papua New Guinea, which has the highest incidence of HIV in the Pacific region, ADRA is running an HIV/AIDS counseling and testing center in Lae, the country’s second largest city. The ADRA Family Support and Community Information Center encourages communities to practice responsible sex. It also acts as a resource center, offering books and audiovisual materials that educate youth, the most affected segment of the population, on topics including HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and reproductive health.

“Our goal is to educate people so that they make informed decisions on risky behavioral practices,” said Harvey Kitoria, director for the ADRA Family Support and Community Information Center.

ADRA Papua New Guinea also provides HIV/AIDS awareness programs in business and academic institutions, conducts confidential mobile testing, voluntary counseling, and home-based care visits to support and help minimize the stigma and discrimination many HIV-affected families face within their communities.

In Malawi, where the number of people living with HIV and AIDS is estimated to be 930,000, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), ADRA is implementing several programs that not only raise awareness about HIV and AIDS prevention, but also meet the needs of families affected by the virus.

One such program is Let’s Fight AIDS in Malawi, or LEFAM, which works to strengthen families affected by HIV/AIDS, providing them with activities that prevent the spread of the disease, as well as counseling, advocacy programs, and income-generating initiatives.

ADRA is also teaching Malawian communities about HIV and AIDS through a well-known television and radio program called Tikuferanji, whose goal is to help the public learn about disease prevention and responsible sexual behaviors. Tikuferanji, currently one of the most popular television shows in Malawi, received the Radio Play of the Year Award at the 2008 Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Entertainers Awards, and was also voted the Best Advocacy Program in Malawi in radio and television.

ADRA recently ended the Live Safe, Play Safe Project, a multi-year initiative that used sports and games to teach children in Mali about HIV and AIDS prevention and the importance of caring for those living with the disease. The project, first implemented in August 2007, benefited more than 3,000 children before its closing in September 2009.

For more details about the HIV and AIDS crisis, including valuable information regarding ADRA’s response to the pandemic, go to www.adra.org.

According to UNAIDS, more than 25 million people have died from AIDS since 1981, Meanwhile, some 33 million people are infected with HIV globally.

In 1988, the World Health Organization and the United Nations General Assembly designated December 1 as World AIDS Day in order to raise awareness about the disease, fight prejudices, and increase understanding worldwide.

To get the latest information, follow ADRA on Twitter and Facebook.

ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

For more information about ADRA, visit www.adra.org.

Author: Nadia McGill

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