Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, travelled to Uganda and Kenya earlier this month to speak with country officials and members of civil society about their epidemics and their partnerships with the U.S. Government in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Ambassador Goosby met with Ugandan President H.E. Yoweri Museveni, and also toured several initiatives supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in the nation's capital, Kampala. These included the Infectious Diseases Institute, The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) and Meeting Point, a grassroots organization that provides care for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
While in Uganda, Ambassador Goosby pledged continued support for Uganda's fight against HIV/ AIDS and expressed a desire to further strengthen the partnership between Uganda and the United States.
From fiscal year 2004-2009, the American people, through PEPFAR, provided over $1.2 billion to Uganda to support comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care programs. Currently, PEPFAR supports antiretroviral treatment for 120,000 Ugandans.
During his visit to Uganda, Ambassador Goosby also stressed the importance of HIV prevention. "We should try different prevention approaches because people who have heard HIV/AIDS messages are the ones getting infected. …We need to keep drumming prevention messages, as long as AIDS exists, because behavior change needs continuity," he said.
Ambassador Goosby also highlighted the need for new strategies and efforts to reduce stigma in order to ensure prevention messages are effective. "Infections are moving from younger people to 30-35 year-old women and men in their 40s. We need to respond by reviving prevention campaigns," he said.
Following his trip to Uganda, Ambassador Goosby traveled to Kenya, where he met with government officials from the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, the Ministry of Medical Services, and the National AIDS Control Commission. They discussed the wealth of data made available by the recent USG-supported Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey (KAIS), and opportunities for PEPFAR technical support to strengthen the Kenyan Government's capacity to manage its response to HIV/AIDS.
At Kenyatta National Hospital, Ambassador Goosby met with senior clinicians to discuss ideas for enhancing medical education, and participated in a "grand rounds" discussion on the case of a patient who has been on treatment since before PEPFAR began and who is now receiving PEPFAR-supported antiretroviral treatment.
While in Kenya, Ambassador Goosby visited the Kangemi Health Center, which provides a wide range of health services to residents of an informal settlement. He also met with civil society members and health care providers to exchange ideas on possible new approaches to address Kenya's HIV/AIDS epidemic.
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