Djibouti: Fighting HIV/AIDS in the Djiboutian Armed Forces (June 2006)

The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is supporting a military-to-military collaboration between the Djiboutian Armed Forces (FAD) and the U.S. Government. Through this partnership, the Emergency Plan supported training for a cadre of military health care providers in the management of patients with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. PEPFAR also supported the procurement of computer and audiovisual equipment used by the training program.

To date, two outlets provide counseling and testing and over 280 troops have been tested for HIV and received their results. Additionally, approximately 200 individuals have been trained in the provision of counseling and testing. The U.S. Government provided funds to purchase vital HIV test kits, HIV/AIDS diagnostic equipment, and supporting supplies. Over twelve laboratory technicians have been trained in the use and maintenance of this equipment. In a ceremony at the FAD garrison on December 22, 2005, the U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti formally delivered the laboratory equipment necessary to conduct HIV seroprevalence surveys to the FAD Commanding General.

The FAD is breaking new ground with a HIV prevalence study covering 2,134 active duty military personnel. The complementary knowledge, attitudes, and practices survey with troops will provide important information about the correlation between behavior and HIV prevalence in the FAD.

Finally, the FAD is training peer educators to provide life-saving HIV prevention information to fellow military personnel. Trained peer educators have helped to developed standardized materials on HIV prevention and have conducted a mass media campaign with messages geared towards military personnel. As a result, over 50 military peer educators have been trained, reaching over 800 soldiers with comprehensive HIV prevention information.

The partnership between the Djiboutian Armed Forces and the U.S. Government is helping to turn the tide against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

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