AIDS and Innovation
Getting to Zero on World AIDS Day
The World AIDS Day theme running through 2015 is all about “Getting to Zero” – zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. While these are lofty goals, organizers and UNAIDS are both optimistic about the results possible. UNAIDS in particular hopes that the “Zero” theme will “spark high impact events from small-scale community vigils to nation-wide events using the universally recognized shape of zeros...to get life and death issues the attention they deserve.” While today the whole world is paying attention to the fight against HIV/AIDS, here’s a look at some innovative programs profiled in the CHMI database that work to bring AIDS to zero every day of the year:
In the realm of mobile clinics, there is the Mobile Male Circumcision Clinic of Uganda. This is a one of a kind, self-contained surgery located in a mobile van that is able to reach rural and remote areas with ease. While research has shown that circumcision itself reduced the rates of HIV/AIDS among men by 60%, trained health workers are also emphasizing abstinence, faithfulness and condom usage.
While learning about abstinence in the mobile clinics of Uganda is a great way to get information, what about teens who aren’t comfortable asking their parents and health professionals for information? The Philippines has found one solution with Sex-Ed Texts (SET). The program is an anonymous hotline created for teens and young adults to get accurate answers to a range of sexual education topics.
Teens can be a high-risk faction when it comes to contracting HIV/AIDS, but another group to watch is pregnant women. With proper care and treatment the transmission of AIDS from mother to child can be prevented. Mothers 2 Mothers works to do just that through peer counseling from HIV positive mothers to HIV positive pregnant women. Active internationally, this program has worked to enroll 20% of the world’s HIV positive pregnant women.
While the above programs all work to prevent new cases of AIDS, focusing on “zero new infections," what about those who have already contracted the virus? On Cue Compliance works to reach zero AIDS-related deaths with their innovative pill bottles. The drug regime for both HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis medicine is rigorous, leading to a low amount of proper adherence. To combat this, On Cue Compliance has fitted all of their prescription bottles with SIM cards and a transmitter. Upon opening the bottle, an SMS is sent to a health worker, while if the bottle is not opened at the correct time, a text is sent to the patient to remind them to take their medication. This internationally available technology has proven to promote 90% compliance in the pilot study, which could contribute greatly to zero AIDS-related deaths.
These programs are just a few examples of the more than 250 projects focused on preventing and treating HIV/AIDS profiled in the CHMI database. While all these programs are unique, they have the same goal of reaching a zero in the fight against AIDS. Whether these projects and campaigns are about prevention or treatment, working together, the international community will put HIV/AIDS to zero together.