Tag Archives: travel

Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover visits HIV/AIDS programs in Tanzania

Danny Glover, UNICEF Ambassador and famous actor, traveled to Tanzania in July 2009 to support HIV testing efforts, counseling for PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) and the fight against stigma in the country. Mr. Glover’s brother is HIV positive, and Mr. Glover sees the need for youth support clinics, testing, and a reduction in stigma. He also supports PMTCT efforts and the ongoing support for pregnant women who are HIV positive, including the involvement of their husbands or boyfriends.

During his visit to Tanzania, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover talks with a mother who has brought a child to a clinic and is waiting to be attended by a nurse.

During his visit to Tanzania, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover talks with a mother who has brought a child to a clinic and is waiting to be attended by a nurse.

Mr. Glover met with youth from the Zanzibar Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS and talked with people from the Zanzibar Youth Education Development and Environment Support Association, who provide a range of support services. Mr. Glover said that HIV stigma is “one of the most damaging” factors at work in Tanzania. We feel that this is true across the world, and we couldn’t agree more.

Read the full article here.

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Club Raises Awareness for Disaffected Children in Tanzania

This article, published in the Arizona Daily Wildcat (the newspaper for the University of Arizona), discusses an international service trip similar to AIDSTanzania at William and Mary. It’s called Support for International Change, and it sends groups of students to Tanzania to promote HIV testing and awareness in northern Tanzania.

As one group member described, the trips are like a study abroad experience, except you’re volunteering as a member of the community and getting involved with helping others, as opposed to just looking. That sums it up quite well. Keep up the good work, Support for International Change!

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Truckers Leave AIDS Viral Loads in Namanga Border Town

This article tells a story that is a common narrative in Tanzania about how HIV is spread. This time, the story takes place in Namanga, a border town between Tanzania and Kenya, and the theory is that HIV infections are rising in the town due to heavy trucker traffic and the nomadic lifestyle of the border communities.

Namanga, at the border of Kenya and Tanzania

Namanga, at the border of Kenya and Tanzania

While in Tanzania, our own group heard similar stories about how commuting brings HIV back into the rural villages – men would go into Arusha to work and to seek entertainment, sometimes contract the HIV virus through sexual partners in the city, and then unknowingly bring HIV back to their family and community. This is why some statistics suggest the HIV infection rate growing in rural areas even as it stabilizes or decreases in cities.

This is a similar problem to Namanga’s border town HIV problem. Residents and officials of this area blame in sufficient health and medical facilities both for failing to stop the spread of the virus. The article also suggests that though reported HIV rates are low, the problem is critical – implying not only insufficient medical care, but insufficient testing and potentially a heavy stigma regarding HIV.

Truckers Leave Aids Viral Loads in Namanga Border Town

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Reducation of stigma: Streamlining visas for HIV positive travelers

Just last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued new regulations that streamlines the process of issuing non-immigrant visas to people with HIV/AIDS who meet all other visa requirements.  The regulations change the old process of issuing visas to HIV patients on a case-by-case basis.

This also fulfills a part of the United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, which President Bush signed earlier this year.  The Act calls for the removal of HIV from the list of diseases of public health significance that prohibited people from visiting the U.S.

Read more about the new process here.

This announcement is great news to those of us trying to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS.  While acknowledging HIV/AIDS as a public health issue of importance, unnecessary procedures promote misperceptions of how the virus is spread, and make life that much harder for HIV/AIDS patients.  “Plus one” for the Department of Homeland Security.

-Rebecca

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