It’s been 30 years since the world first learned about the dreadful disease that attacks a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells that fight infections. According to the World Health Organization, since the beginning of this pandemic, more than 60 million people worldwide have been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and nearly 30 million have died from this virus that causes AIDS or acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
Many medical advances have been made, including the introduction of antiretroviral drugs like AZT in 1987 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In the mid-90s a highly active combo of medicines were introduced to treat the virus. Today, these medicines are helping those infected with HIV to live longer and to have productive lives.
“It is these medicines Food For The Poor is seeking to obtain through donors and partner organizations to help those living with HIV/AIDS and those infected by this virus get the treatment and support they need,” said Robin Mahfood, CEO/President of Food For The Poor. “This ministry has been saving lives, transforming communities and renewing hope in the Caribbean and Latin America for nearly 30 years. We are committed to using all available resources to support the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS for those we serve.”
Food For The Poor helps to empower 33 facilities throughout the Caribbean and Latin America that care for more than 10,000 individuals with this virus. In the Caribbean, in 2009, more than 240,000 people in the region were living with HIV. In that same year there were 20,000 new infections, and 12,000 deaths that resulted from AIDS-related illnesses, according to statements by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Due to these staggering statistics, Food For The Poor has been invited to participate and is on the planning committee for the very first conference on AIDS in the Caribbean region. Food For The Poor will be represented by Susan Moore, Director of Healthcare for Food For The Poor’s Jamaica office.
“Food For The Poor has always been there for the people of Jamaica, and many in the Caribbean. I am hopeful this conference will help to break down stigmas about this disease so we can continue to help as many people as possible,” said Moore.
Food For The Poor has provided ongoing support to Jamaica’s Mustard Seed Community for more than 25 years. The Mustard Seed orphanage cares for the abandoned, the disabled, and for children who are HIV positive. Since 2003, Food For The Poor’s Our Lady of The Poor Medical Clinic at Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has been serving those affected by the disease. The clinic runs a comprehensive prevention mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission program and clinic for infected patients. In the Dominican Republic, Food For The Poor has partnered with Fundacion Cruz Jiminian, which collaborates with two organizations there to provide testing, counseling, and medication.
“We are touching the lives of the infected and those who are affected especially the children,” said Rachmani Domersant, Vice President of International Operations for Food For The Poor. “We are so thankful to be in a position to help, and to have an active role in this fight against HIV/AIDS – what a blessing!”
More than 2,500 participants, including doctors, researchers, healthcare providers, organizations and HIV patients have registered to attend the 2011 Caribbean HIV Conference –Strengthening Evidence to Achieve Sustainable Action. The conference is scheduled for November 18-21, 2011 in Nassau, Bahamas, at the Atlantis Hotel & Resort. For details on the conference click on www.2011caribbeanhivconference.org.
Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
Food For The Poor
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